Sept. 11, 2010
By Kaitlyn Comiskey
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The Rams volleyball team finished strong Saturday night at Moby, sweeping Illinois State - 25-16, 25-14, 25-17 -- and placing first in the Rams Volleyball Classic presented by Poudre Valley Health System.
CSU now holds an impressive record of 8-1, with its only loss to then-No.6-ranked Florida. The Redbirds' record now stands at 8-3.
Senior Jacque Davisson led the charge in Set 1, notching five kills and hitting .500. Middle Blocker Brieon Paige contributed four kills as well, beating the block with a quick arm-swing out of the middle. An ace from Danielle Minch followed by a solid block from Paige and Davisson set the score at 19-14, forcing the Redbirds to take a time-out. CSU went on to win the first set 25-16, when senior Emily Koenning served up an ace for set-point.
"This was a fantastic thing for me to watch, because I felt like our team did a wonderful job of rebounding from what I felt was some mediocre play today to really good, really efficient play," commented Head Coach Tom Hilbert. "We've been blocking well the whole tournament and I felt we blocked well tonight, but we defended much better."
The big swings continued into Set 2 for the Rams. Davisson continued her hot streak with a hard tool, putting CSU ahead 10-8. Middle blocker Megan Plourde sealed the block with Davisson for a block-kill the next point, and another kill from Davisson gave the Rams a four-point lead. Setter Evan Sanders went to the back line to serve at 18-11, and spurred a five-point run for the Rams. CSU took a quick second set, with a final score of 25-14.
"Evan Sanders moved the ball around really well," Hilbert added. "There was only one significant point run against us the whole game. A lot of great things happened tonight. We served well and we passed well, and when you do those things the rest of your talent can begin to emerge."
ISU fought hard in Set 3 to try to force a fourth set, but a serving error followed by a string of hitting errors for the Redbirds gave CSU a 22-17 lead. Paige and right side Katelyn Steffan shut down ISU's outside hitters, contributing two block-assists towards the end of the set. A powerful kill from Minch finished off the match, giving the Rams a 25-17 victory.
CSU hit an impressive .400 on the match, with Davisson finishing strong at 11 kills. Minch was close behind with 10 kills. Sanders also contributed three big kills for the Rams at crucial points throughout the match. Libero Audrey Hemmings finished the match with a team-high 16 digs in the backcourt, while Paige boasted seven block assists for the night.
"I think it was a good learning experience playing these types of teams," said Hemmings. "They're a lot scrappier, so it made us work a lot harder for us to earn our kills and to earn our points."
The Rams take the court in Moby once again on Thursday against VCU at 7 p.m., followed by another home match against No. 23 Long Beach State at 7 p.m. on Friday.
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