Oct. 2, 2011
By Nic Hallisey
Athletic Media Relations
SAN DIEGO, Calif.--The Colorado State Rams continued their success through conference play, improving to 4-0 with a 3-1 win over host San Diego State (25-19, 25-20, 21-25, 25-18) Sunday afternoon at Peterson Gym.
Again, senior Katelyn Steffan was the leading force, recording 18 kills and five blocks in the win.
"Kate had a monster game," Head Coach Tom Hilbert said. "She's really coming into her own at her position."
On the weekend, Steffan averaged 23 kills on .400 hitting.
"We know that the team that's going to win this conference is the team that can win on the road," Steffan said. "Getting two wins this weekend, against two good teams, will really help us down the stretch."
In the match, the Rams hit. 355 and out-blocked the Aztecs 12.0-3.0. Five players recorded at least seven kills, including Steffan, juniors Dana Cranston (double-double (11 kills and 11 digs), .357 hitting), Megan Plourde (nine kills, seven blocks) and Brieon Paige (eight kills, .615 hitting, five blocks), and sophomore Tori Brummett (seven kills, .357 hitting).
The Rams got off to a hot start, claiming the first two points, and seven of the match's first nine, en route to a 25-19 win in the first set. Steffan led the attack with six kills, including the final two. While CSU never trailed, SDSU did make it a two-point set, 19-17, forcing Hilbert to use his first timeout. The Rams responded with a 6-2 run to close out the set. CSU hit .424 in the stanza, including 16 kills and just two errors.
Trailing 11-10 in Set 2, CSU rattled off five consecutive points to take a 14-11 lead, and was able to put the set away shortly after with a 25-20 win. The Rams were again on their game offensively, hitting .346, while also holding SDSU to .077 hitting. Brummett had three kills on three attempts in the set.
In the third set, CSU fell behind early and was never able to catch up, falling 25-21. The Rams got within two points several times--lastly at 23-21--but never closer.
"San Diego State came out with a completely different lineup for the third set," Hilbert said. "We didn't hit the ball well, but we still almost came back, and we got some momentum going into the fourth set."
CSU took a 10-8 lead with a 6-1 run midway through the fourth set, featuring kills by Paige, Cranston and Brummett, and a service ace by Deedra Foss. After SDSU brought the score to one--10-9--on the next play, Steffan took control with three kills to give CSU a 15-12 lead leading into the TV timeout. After a pair of points from a Brummett kill and Cranston and Paige block, SDSU burned a timeout, trailing 17-12. The Aztecs were forced to use another timeout just five plays later, though, after CSU widened to gap to 21-13, and eventually 25-18.
"This was a very good win for us," Hilbert said. "To play in their gym and come out and hit and play as well as we did, I'm really pleased."
With the win, CSU has won 19 consecutive against the Aztecs dating back to 2002.
The Rams will host a non-conference match Thursday vs. Seattle (7 p.m. MT at Moby Arena), before continuing conference action Saturday evening at Wyoming.
National exposure: Sunday marked the second time this season the Rams have played in front of a television audience, and first for a live national broadcast. CSU will appear on national TV two more times during the regular season (Oct. 13 vs. New Mexico and Nov. 10 at TCU), in addition to the MW tournament, which will feature live broadcasts of each match.
Life's a beach: With the extra off day, the team spent part of the afternoon enjoying the sun and waves at Mission Beach.