Sept. 28, 2010
By Danny Mattie
Athletic Media Relations
GREELEY, Colo. – For the second time in three matches Colorado State middle blocker Megan Plourde recorded a career high in blocks and led the team in kills, helping the 18th-ranked CSU volleyball team to a 3-0 road victory against in-state rival Northern Colorado on Tuesday night.
Plourde tied UNC’s Kelley Arnold for match-high honors with nine kills, but it was her defensive effort, which included a personal-best 12 blocks (two solo) that keyed the Rams to victory (25-19, 25-16, 25-14).
As a team the Rams (12-2, 2-0 MWC) and their defense kept the attack of the Bears (12-4, 3-0 Big Sky) off balance, outblocking UNC 15.0-3.0, while senior libero Audrey Hemmings - a Greeley native - tallied a match-high 14 digs for the Rams. The Bears mustered just 24 kills on 90 attempts, while committing 28 attack errors for a -0.04 hitting percentage, a season-best for CSU’s defense.
But the key Tuesday may have been CSU’s strong serving. The Rams tallied six aces against the Bears and scored many points on overpasses on tough UNC receptions.
“We served well in somebody else’s gym, and we hadn’t been doing that,” said Head Coach Tom Hilbert. “We served tough and hit the right people, and we caused problems for them. That was a really good thing to see from this team.”
The win was big for the Rams, who were playing their third match in five days, and have a key contest with San Diego State – who is tied with CSU atop the MWC standings - looming on the horizon Thursday night at Moby Arena.
“It’s a good momentum win for us in that it was a match that got our players very alert,” said Hilbert. “Our team was alert; they were ready. I’m very proud of them for that, and that will help us heading into Thursday.”
Junior setter Evan Sanders recorded 25 assists for the Rams on the night, spreading the ball around to the Rams’ hitters. Six CSU players, including Plourde, tallied four or more kills on the night. Seniors Danielle Minch and Jacque Davisson notched eight and five kills, respectively. Sophomore Brieon Paige and junior Katelyn Steffan each added five as well, and Sanders recorded four of her own, catching the Bears off guard with several well-timed dumps.
“She dumped the ball well,” added Hilbert. “She did it at the right times; she chose the right number of times.
“It was just a really, really good match for us.”
The win marked the ninth consecutive for the Rams against the Bears. CSU is now 14-6 all-time against UNC.
Thursday night’s first-place showdown against San Diego State is slated to begin at 7 p.m. at Moby Arena. The match has been designated a “Pepsi 4-Pack” match, and fans can purchase four general-admission tickets and receive four sodas and four hot dogs for just $20.