Oct. 15, 2009
By Danny Mattie
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Colorado State volleyball team used a fast start from senior middle blocker Tessa Nelson to sweep the BYU Cougars on Thursday night in front of 1,605 fans at Moby Arena, and push the team’s winning streak to 11 matches.
Nelson notched match highs with 10 kills, on .667 hitting (10-0-15), and six blocks, to go along with a pair of service aces, in leading the Rams (15-3, 7-0 MWC) to another victory over a tough BYU squad (9-9, 4-3 MWC).
Facing the nation’s fifth-ranked blocking team, the Colorado State hitters looked very sharp from the outset, and the Rams proved why they are also considered one of the top blocking teams in the country. Nelson and sophomore setter Evan Sanders notched three assisted blocks in the first six points of the opening set. Nelson also tallied three early kills, as did junior outside hitter Danielle Minch, and the Rams catapulted to a commanding 10-2 advantage just minutes into Set 1.
“BYU was playing without their best attacker (Kayla Walker), which made them predictable in certain areas,” said Head Coach Tom Hilbert. “And in Set 1, we had a block call going and were able to load up on them and get out to an eight-point lead. They knew what we were doing, but it didn’t matter because we were taking away their best option. That set a tone for the match.”
And after gaining confidence from their early advantage, the Rams cruised to a 25-15 victory to begin that match. Nelson closed the set with four kills and four blocks, while Minch led all players with five kills.
The second set was more of the same, as the Rams jumped out to a 10-4 lead, aided by three service errors and four attack errors from the Cougars. Nelson once again led the Rams, tallying three more kills and another pair of blocks.
“I thought that Evan made good choices to get the ball to her (Tessa),” added Hilbert. “Tessa is just smart. We were able to attack gaps and hit zones that we knew they were poor defending, and she tipped in areas that she knew were open. She really played an all-around smart game.”
“We practiced these things all week, and talked about what was going to be open against this team,” said Nelson. “We played against our scout team like they would, and I felt like we were very well prepared.”
The Cougars put up more of a fight in the third set, as the teams reversed roles and BYU took a 3-1 lead to begin the set. Nelson once again answered with a pair of kills for the Rams’ second and third points, for the first of four ties in the final stanza. A Megan Plourde kill gave the Rams their first lead of the set, 7-6, and the Rams never looked back, taking the 25-21 victory to secure the sweep.
Minch and Davisson finished with nine and eight kills, respectively, while sophomore opposite hitter Katelyn Steffan added seven kills. Sanders recorded 35 assists in the match, and was second to Nelson with three blocks for the Rams, who outblocked the Cougars by a 9.0-4.0 margin.
Colorado State also hit .295 for the match, while holding BYU to just .088 hitting.
The MWC-leading Rams will now turn their attention to second-place Utah (13-6, 6-1 MWC), who is coming off of a five-set victory at Wyoming. The two teams will face off Saturday at 1 p.m. in Moby Arena.
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