Sept. 10, 2011
By Zach Balside
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - It took a few hard-fought sets and some tiebreak calculating, but the No. 14 CSU Rams ended Saturday night at Moby Arena with the championship trophy in the second annual Rams Volleyball Classic presented by Poudre Valley Health System.
The Rams defeated the Northern Colorado Bears 3-0 (25-23, 28-26, 25-20), led by double-digit kills from Brieon Paige and Katelyn Steffan. Both players were named to the all-tournament team after the match, with Steffan receving MVP honors for the second time in a tournament this year. The win brought the Rams to 6-2 on the season.
"I think UNC is a good volleyball program and I'm really pleased with this win because I felt like we showed some pretty good competitive moments throughout the course of this match," Head Coach Tom Hilbert said of the win.
After the completion of the tournament, there was a three-way for first place, with CSU, UNC, and Wichita State each earning a record of 2-1 over the weekend. The number of sets lost by each team was the first tiebreaking procedure, eliminating Wichita State from placing. The Rams and Bears each dropped four sets in the event, so after their head-to-head win over UNC, the Rams were named champions.
CSU held the Bears (6-4) to low hitting averages in the first two sets (.132, .067) while taking better advantage of its own scoring opportunities. Paige hit .500 for the match, the third time this season she's reached or surpassed that average. She credited a lot of her hitting success to the play of setter Deedra Foss.
"I feel like Deedra and I are definitely connecting a lot and I felt like the quicks were working," Paige said.
Saturday's win came after a tough CSU loss to Wichita State on Friday night.
"We left last night in the past and moved on and knew that we had to come out stronger," Foss said. "We knew that they were going to be a tough opponent so we treated them like they were going to be a tough opponent."
The win was the CSU's 60th when hosting a regular-season tournament under Hilbert. The Rams also won the inaugural Rams Volleyball Classic last year.
Next up for the Rams is a match at Denver on Friday at the Hamilton Gymnasium. Start time is scheduled for 7 p.m. MT.