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Volleyball falls to Michigan

Senior Tonya Mokelkie

Senior Tonya Mokelkie

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The No. 21 Colorado State Rams finished the 2007 season with a 23-8 record after falling in three tight games (24-30, 27-30, 23-30) to Michigan in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Ann Arbor. The No. 14 seeded Rams were led by Jaime Strauss with match-highs in both kills at 15 and digs with 18. Senior Tonya Mokelki finished her CSU career with nine kills, a service ace and three blocks.

"I am proud of this team," said Head Coach Tom Hilbert. "They were able to use the short serve and it really threw us off. Give credit to this Michigan team, they played a good match. Regardless this was a good season for us."

In Game 1 the Rams fell behind early, allowing the Wolverines to get out to a 10-5 advantage. The Rams were able to pull within two points at 19-22 before Michigan extended the lead for the final score of 30-24.

Strauss led all players with six kills. CSU's middle hitters combined for five kills but the .044 hitting percentage, a season low, was something that the Rams could not overcome. Michigan out blocked the Rams 7-2 in the first game.

Michigan jumped out to an early advantage extending the lead to as many as six points but CSU pulled the game to within four forcing a timeout by Michigan. Ashley Fornstrom sparked the Rams offensive with a solid attack, a solo block and setting up a pair of kills for the one-point lead for CSU, 27-26. The Wolverines responded with a four-point run to the finish Game 2, 30-27.

Katelin Batten, who was all over the court, had 11 digs through the end of Game 2. CSU improved to hit .229 with six errors. Strauss, Mekana Barnes and Mokelki each notched four kills in the second game. Fornstrom had 13 assists and three kills.

In the third game CSU came out with a quick lead but allowed the Wolverines to battle back to take a 9-5 lead and force a timeout for the Rams. CSU rallied out of the timeout and tied the score at 12 points. Michigan slowly built its lead to seven points for the 30-23 win.

"This is hard to swallow right now," said Fornstrom. "We came out really wound up. We didn't settle in at the start and it made things hard."

CSU hit .154 in the final game. The Rams had three service aces. Freshman Jonelle Wallace sparked things briefly in the game collecting four kills and making a key solo block. Service errors plagued the Rams as they missed 10 serves while Michigan missed just one.




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