Volleyball recap: Rams fall at No. 2 Stanford in NCAA second round
Dec. 4, 2010
By Danny Mattie
STANFORD, Calif. – The No. 17 Colorado State volleyball program had its NCAA tournament run cut short Saturday night, falling at No. 2-ranked and third-seeded Stanford in straight sets, in the second round at the Cardinal’s Maples Pavilion.
The Rams (26-5) took the Cardinal (26-3) to the brink in the opening set, battling the Pac-10 co-champions to 26-26 tie, before Stanford was able to escape with the 28-26 victory. From that point, Stanford showed why they earned the region’s top seed, downing the Rams, 25-13 and 25-15, in Sets 2 and 3, respectively.
Three-time All-American, and Pac-10 Player of the Year, Alix Klineman led Stanford to the victory, posting 18 kills on .400 hitting. Klineman also added three solo blocks to finish with 22 points in the match.
Seniors Danielle Minch and Jacque Davisson led the Rams in kills, putting away nine and eight, respectively. Junior Katelyn Steffan tallied seven kills and four assisted blocks on the night, tying Minch for team-high blocking honors.
Despite out-hitting the Cardinal, .312-.154, in the opening stanza and recording more kills (16-15), blocks (5.5-3.0), digs (13-10) and assists (15-13), the Rams were unable to close out the opening set on Stanford’s home court.
A Davisson ace early in the second set brought the Rams to within 4-3, before Stanford rattled off seven consecutive points, including two kills and a solo block from Klineman, to establish an 11-4 lead. Stanford won the set 25-13 and went into intermission with a commanding 2-0 lead.
CSU suffered a similar fate in the deciding third set. Following a Megan Plourde kill that tied the contest, 4-4, Stanford rallied to score six of the next seven points to stake to a 10-5 lead. A Minch kill and an ace by junior setter Evan Sanders brought CSU to within 10-7, but the Cardinal slammed the door once again with a seven-point run of their own, en route to the 25-15 win.
Sanders finished with a match-high 30 assists. Senior libero Audrey Hemmings paced the Rams with 11 digs, while Davisson added nine digs of her own and sophomore Dana Cranston chipped in with eight.
Overall, the Rams hit .158 for the match, while the Cardinal connected at a .330 clip. Stanford also outblocked the Rams, 9.0-7.5.
Stanford now advances to the regional semifinal round where they will square off with Ohio State in the Dayton Regional next weekend.
The loss closes the book on the Rams’ 2010 season that saw CSU win its second consecutive Mountain West Conference championship. The Rams’ postseason appearance marked the 16th consecutive for the program.