Rams hold off Bears at Moby Arena
Sept. 30, 2009
By Danny Mattie
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Colorado State volleyball team extended its home and overall winning streaks to seven matches Wednesday night, but just barely, holding off a talented Northern Colorado squad in five sets (25-23, 22-25, 25-23, 21-25, 15-13) in front of 1,687 fans at Moby Arena.
Playing early without the services of senior leader Tessa Nelson, whom Head Coach Tom Hilbert had hoped to rest during a lull in CSU’s MWC schedule, Colorado State’s youth reappeared for the first time since the first weekend of the season.
“I have been bragging about how mature that we’ve been playing, and I don’t think that we played with a great deal of maturity tonight,” said Head Coach Tom Hilbert. “That’s bound to happen. We missed too many serves and hit too many unforced errors.”
The Rams (11-3), however, were able to rely on advantages in sheer size and athleticism to defeat one of the strongest Bears (9-7) teams in recent history.
“You look at the athletic advantage statistics – we had more kills and blocks than they did – which is what you would expect,” added Hilbert. “That was the difference in the match.”
In fact, the Rams recorded 11 more kills – 72 vs. 61 – than the Bears, and outblocked the Bears by a margin of 11.5-7.0, with several Rams posting impressive numbers on the night.
Junior outside hitters Danielle Minch and Jacque Davisson shouldered much of the offensive load, notching 20 and 16 kills respectively, while freshman Megan Plourde (13) and sophomore Katelyn Steffan (12) also posted double digits in kills. Steffan and Plourde also recorded four assisted blocks each, while Davisson added two (one solo) and Minch posted one block.
Freshman Brieon Paige, who earned her fourth start of the season, added seven kills and three assisted blocks for the Rams.
However, in crunch time, the Rams turned to Nelson who rose to the occasion to help guide the Rams to the victory. Playing in the final points of the fourth set and starting the deciding fifth set, Nelson posted three blocks to give the Rams a needed boost.
“Tessa came in and had three block assists playing, essentially, in one set,” added Hilbert. “We weren’t able to score points when we were serving against them, and I felt like putting Tessa in there to get more blocks made a big difference tonight.”
Sophomore setter Evan Sanders also played an integral role in the Rams’ blocking, recording a match-high five assisted blocks to go along with a career-high 61 assists and 12 digs, which also marked her sixth double-double of the season.
“The message that I need to send to the team is: ‘This is not indicative of the way we’ve been playing’,” added Hilbert. “We have to go back and play with the maturity that we have been playing with.”
Colorado State will have an opportunity to do just that on Friday night, when the team travels to nearby Laramie, Wyo., to continue MWC play and renew the “Border War” with rival Wyoming. The match is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. from the UniWyo Sports Complex.