Oct. 14, 2010
By Kaitlyn Comiskey
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- The No. 16 Rams walked away victorious once again on Thursday night, narrowly escaping with a five-set victory over second-place TCU - 25-22, 26-24, 20-25, 20-25, 15-12 – to put a little distance between themselves and the rest of the pack in the Mountain West Conference race.
The victory pushed the Rams to a record of 16-2, 6-0 in the Mountain West Conference, and set the Horned Frogs back to 12-7, 3-2 in the Mountain West Conference. It also extended CSU’s overall win streak to seven and improved CSU’s home streak vs. the MWC to 26 consecutive matches.
Colorado State out-hit TCU during the first two sets, boasting .235 and .316 hitting percentages in the first and second sets, respectively. The Rams also out-played the Horned Frogs defensively, finishing the second set with 42 digs, to TCU’s 33, and racking up 14 block assists.
Senior Danielle Minch led the Rams with eight kills, while fellow outside hitter Jacque Davisson notched 12 digs just within the first two sets.
Set 3 remained neck-and-neck within the first twenty points, and a big kill from Brieon Paige out of the middle tied the score at 5-5. But two four-point runs from TCU within the third set was too much for the Rams, and a combination of tips and scrappy defense helped TCU to take the fourth set, 25-20.
“They were transitioning well and we were a step behind them,” commented Head Coach Tom Hilbert.
A similar trend continued into the fourth set, as the Horned Frogs out-hit the Rams with a hitting percentage of .375. Five of TCU’s players recorded double digits in kills, with outside hitter Irene Hester notching 15 kills by Set 4. Defensive specialist Izzy Gaulia contributed greatly to CSU’s defensive effort within the fourth set, coming up with two big digs during an intense rally early in the set. Yet even a three-point run mid game couldn’t put the Rams ahead, as TCU took the fourth set, 25-20.
With the Rams MWC home streak dating back to 2006, the team rallied in Set 5 to keep the streak alive. Steffan led a four-point run for the Rams early in the fifth set, setting the score at 8-5 and forcing a TCU timeout. The Horned Frogs came out of the time out with a quick kill, but middle blocker Megan Plourde answered right back with a hard hit slide to the middle of TCU’s floor. Setter Evan Sanders served up a crucial ace to put the Rams ahead 13-10, setting up teammates Katelyn Steffan and Paige for a block-kill. Minch went on to finish off the match with a hard-hit kill, allowing CSU to win 15-10.
“We blocked the ball well in the fifth game,” said Hilbert. “Evan got the chance to serve twice and she was by far our best server today in terms of toughness. It was a good fifth game. We put ourselves in a position to play five, and we did a nice job with it.”
Minch, returning after missing the Rams’ last two matches with an ankle injury, finished the night with 20 kills, one solo block, and four block assists. Davisson had a double-double, with 14 kills and 20 digs. Sanders led the team with 21 digs, as well as contributing 50 assists and six kills. Five of the Rams finished the night in double digits in the dig category. Plourde also finished in double digits for kills with 10, as well as six block assists.
The Rams take on New Mexico on Saturday night in Moby Arena at 7 p.m. Saturday’s contest will be a part of Homecoming and Family Weekend at CSU. Tickets are just $3 with a stub from that afternoon’s CSU vs. UNLV Homecoming football game. The CSU volleyball program will also be welcoming back several former players as part of the Rams Legends Weekend.
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