Volleyball recap: No. 18 CSU earns road sweep of Utah
Sept. 26, 2010
By Danny Mattie
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Senior OH Danielle Minch and sophomore MB Megan Plourde each recorded double-digit kills while hitting better than .550 to lead the 18th-ranked CSU volleyball team to a 3-0 victory over the Utah Utes on Sunday afternoon at Crimson Court.
Minch notched a match-high 14 kills on .619 hitting, and chipped in with four assisted blocks, second only to Plourde’s seven. The reigning MWC Player of the Year, Minch has now recorded 29 kills in CSU’s first two MWC matches.
Plourde followed up a 16-kill, 11-block performance Friday at BYU, by tallying 10 kills on .562 hitting and leading all players with seven assisted blocks vs. Utah. She has now recorded 26 kills and 18 total blocks in MWC play.
The victory improves CSU’s record to 11-2 overall, 2-0 in the Mountain West Conference, and gives the defending conference champs and preseason favorites a strong foothold early in the league race with wins over the team selected second in the preseason coaches’ poll (Utah) and the only other team to receive a first-place vote (BYU).
Sunday’s win also gives the Rams a sweep of the annual Utah road swing for the sixth time (2002, ’03, ’04, ’05, ’09 and ‘10) since the formation of the MWC in 1999.
The Utes jumped out to an early advantage in the first set, and led 16-10, before the Rams rallied in a closely fought opening stanza which featured five ties and three lead changes. The Rams took their first lead, 18-17, on a kill by Evan Sanders, and regained the advantage for good, 19-18, on a Minch kill, before closing out the set, 25-22, with Plourde’s fourth kill.
From that point on, the Rams remained in control of the match, and despite six ties in the second set, lead changed just one time, as CSU grabbed a commanding 2-0 lead with another 25-22 victory. Minch tallied seven kills on nine attempts to hit .778. Plourde added four more kills on six attempts (.667) and was hitting .800 (8-0-10) entering the final set.
The third set featured eight ties and five lead changes, all within the first half of the action, as the Rams regained their final advantage on three consecutive attack errors by Utah’s Brooke McAlister, which turned an 11-11 tie into a 14-11 CSU lead. The Utes would never creep to within closer than two points as the Rams closed the match with a 25-20 victory in Set 3.
Overall Colorado State out-blocked the Utes 10.0-3.0 and hit .348 while holding Utah to .204 as a team. Sanders tallied a match-high 26 assists. Izzy Gaulia tied for match-high honors with nine digs, and senior Audrey Hemmings tallied two of the Rams five service aces.
Next up for the Rams is a quick trip to nearby Greeley, Colo., to take on in-state rival Northern Colorado on Tuesday evening at the Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion. The Bears are coming off of an NCAA tournament appearance in 2009, and have started the 2010 season 12-3 including a 3-0 mark in the Big Sky Conference.
CSU then returns to MWC action hosting San Diego State Thursday at Moby Arena. The Aztecs are 7-7 overall, but have posted victories over New Mexico and TCU to begin their MWC schedule.