Nov. 4, 2010
By Kaitlyn Comiskey
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The No. 14 CSU Rams held on to their undefeated title in the Mountain West conference on Thursday night against UNLV at Moby Arena.
The Rams managed to defeat the Rebels in a four-set win, 25-14, 25-17, 22-25, 27-25, improving their winning streak to 12.
The win improves the Rams to a record of 21-2, 10-0 in the Mountain West, and sets the Rebels back to a 8-17 record, 3-8 in the Mountain West.
Even more impressive was that Rams’ Tom Hilbert became the winningest head coach in CSU history, surpassing legendary basketball coach Jim Williams, with an astounding 353 victories at Colorado State. Hilbert already holds the title as the school’s all-time leader in career victories by a volleyball coach, and reached his 500-win mark in 2009 in his 22nd year overall as a head coach.
“Getting that win, it’s nice to get past it,” said Hilbert. “It’s an honor to be mentioned in the same category as someone as Jim Williams.”
The Rams held the Rebels to a -.129 hitting percentage in the first set, making it difficult for UNLV to be effective at the net. CSU’s blocking didn’t help the Rebels’ cause, as they notched 10 block assists in the first set alone. A UNLV service error set the score at 18-12 in favor of the Rams, and a big block from setter Evan Sanders and Tori Brummett forced a Rebel timeout. Senior Danielle Minch finished off Set 1 with a big cross-court kill on the outside.
Minch’s big swings continued into the second set, as she earned the first and second kill of the set for CSU. Junior Katelyn Steffan served up an ace mid-set, giving CSU a five-point lead. Right side hitter Dana Cranston then followed suit with an ace of her own. Shortly after, UNLV set Cranston up for a big kill off of an overpass, increasing the Rams’ lead to 20-12. Senior Emily Koenning entered the back row to serve for two points toward the end of the set, and Minch once again ended Set 2 with a kill.
“We blocked well in the first two games, and really had an impact on those games,” commented Hilbert. “It had an impact on what UNLV was doing offensively.”
But the Rebels weren’t going down without a fight, jumping out ahead in the third set with a 9-1 lead. CSU never managed to catch back up, and back-to-back service errors mid-set only hindered its attempts. UNLV hit .462 in the third set, over CSU’s .300.
UNLV continued fighting into the fourth set, and the Rams and Rebels remained neck and neck throughout the entire set. Brieon Paige entered the fourth set hitting a perfect 1.000, with seven kills, and ended the match with nine total kills. UNLV held a 10-7 lead mid-set, and Sanders and Minch both responded with kills, helping the Rams to tie the score at 11. A kill from Jacque Davisson put the Rams ahead 20-18, and a big block from Brummett and Sanders gave the Rams a decisive lead of 23-20, allowing them to go on to take the match, with a final score of 27-25.
Minch led the team with 17 kills, and libero Audrey Hemmings and Davisson both notched 11 digs. The team totaled 26 block assists.
The Rams are back in action in Moby on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. against Air Force.
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