Nov. 24, 2010
By Kaitlyn Comiskey
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – On a night when the No. 14 CSU volleyball team was officially crowned as MWC champions, the celebration was dampened as the Rams fell to the Utah Utes in four sets - 25-15, 23-25, 21-25, 21-25 – at Moby Arena.
The loss snapped the Rams’ 30-match home winning streak against MWC opponents that dated back to Nov. 18, 2006, another setback to the Utes who were ranked 24th at the time.
The Rams are now 24-4 overall, 13-2 in the Mountain West, while Utah improves to 14-14 overall, 10-5 in the MWC.
The Rams came out strong in the first set, with an initial four-point run. An ace from outside hitter Jacque Davisson, along with two consecutive block-kills from the Rams set the score at 10-3. Another ace from senior libero Audrey Hemmings later on helped CSU to a 10 point lead, 20-10. A Utah service error gave the Rams set-point, allowing middle blocker Megan Plourde and Dana Cranston to put down another block kill, giving the Rams the first set.
Set 1 was the only set in which the Rams managed to maintain an early lead. In the second set alone, Plourde notched six kills and two block assists, but it wasn’t enough to give CSU the momentum that it needed. Setter Evan Sanders went up for a big kill late in the set, bringing the Rams within one point, but the Utes were able to hold on for the 25-23 win in Set 2.
Early runs from Utah in both the third and fourth sets kept CSU constantly playing catch-up. In Set 3, the Utes served up an ace to give the team set-point, 24-21, before Danielle Killpack added a kill to take the set. In the fourth a hard-hit kill down the line from Davisson once again set the score at 24-21 in favor of the Utes. Utah answered back with another kill, giving them the upset.
Plourde led the team with 15 kills and a .310 hitting percentage, followed by 13 kills from Danielle Minch. Hemmings notched 22 digs defensively, and Katelyn Steffan put up five block assists.
“I don’t think our team didn’t play hard, I just don’t think we’ve had enough situations like this,” commented Head Coach Tom Hilbert. “We need to be better at the end of tough sets; we have the NCAA tournament coming up.”
Following the match, CSU was officially presented with their 12th Mountain West championship trophy.
The Rams are set to host BYU on Friday for the final time as Mountain West Conference rivals. CSU will also honor the careers of four players – Jacque Davisson, Audrey Hemmings, Emily Koenning and Danielle Minch - with a special Senior Day ceremony prior to the start of the BYU match, which is set for 7 p.m.
The Rams will then await the NCAA pairings which will be announced Sunday afternoon on ESPNews. A CSU watch party will be hosted by the Rams beginning at 12:30 p.m. at the Beach House Grill in Old Town Fort Collins.