Sept. 16, 2010
By Zach Balside
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – In a battle of Rams, No. 14 CSU (9-1) defeated Virginia Commonwealth (1-11) 3-2 in CSU’s first five-set match of the year behind 16 kills by Danielle Minch at Moby Arena Thursday night.
Minch’s 16 kills were a season high. It was her sixth consecutive match with double-digit kills. Megan Plourde tallied 12 kills while hitting .579 for the match, and Jacque Davisson also added 12 kills for CSU. Evan Sanders provided 51 assists, also a season high.
“We were in our system, we passed well.” Head Coach Tom Hilbert said. “We needed a five-game match. It’s not about who we’re playing. If we’re in a tough situation we need to get out of it and we did that tonight.”
The first set belonged to CSU from the beginning, as Minch collected five kills and Sanders tallied 11 assists to lead CSU to a 25-16 victory. CSU outhit VCU .391 to -.034 in the set.
CSU got off to a slow start in the second set, trailing by as many as seven. A couple of strong plays brought CSU closer, including a key dig and kill by Izzy Gaulia and a block by Sanders, and the score was narrowed to a two-point VCU lead. VCU held strong to end the set, however, and improved from seven kills in the first set to 13 in Set 2 to win 25-22.
CSU returned to solid hitting, posting a .344 percentage to help win Set 3, 25-22. After taking a timeout with the score tied at 11-11, VCU took a two-point lead right after the break. CSU came back, with strong play from Sanders and a big kill by Plourde to make the score 21-18. VCU tightened things up at the end of the set, and forced CSU to take a timeout with the score at 23-22. The timeout ended up being just what CSU needed, as it scored two quick points to take the frame.
“I was proud of my team in Game 3 saying, ‘OK, this is not what we expected, let’s be better,” Hilbert said.
Set 4 started in close fashion, with an effortful dig by Gaulia just before she crashed into the scorer’s table, a play that led to a CSU kill and a 10-8 lead. VCU came back after taking a timeout and had a five-point run that led to a 22-14 lead. CSU tried its own comeback after a timeout, and brought the score all the way to 24-22 before dropping the set 25-22.
In the fifth and decisive set, CSU showed some dominance in a 15-7 win. Multiple players stepped up in the final frame with emphatic blocks and kills. Plourde and Sanders combined for a key block to make the score 13-7, and Plourde notched another for a 14-7 lead. An attacking error by VCU clinched victory for CSU.
“The longer we play in a match, the better we get at figuring out what people are doing,” Hilbert said of his team’s improved play in the fifth set.
CSU aims for its 10th win of the season Friday night against No. 24 Long Beach State (6-2) at 7 p.m. at Moby Arena.
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