Feb. 3, 2014
Photo Gallery | Highlight Video | Coach Hilbert's 'Inspire' story
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It was a record-breaking year for the Colorado State volleyball team, and on Thursday, the Rams got to celebrate, holding their annual end-of-season banquet to commemorate the season and graduating seniors. The sold-out event was held on campus at the Lory Student Center Theatre.
Expected to be a rebuilding year, the Rams took the country by storm, winning their first 27 matches en route to a fifth consecutive Mountain West championship and a national ranking as high as No. 9.
“Any time a team out-performs expectations it’s great, but to do it the way that this team did it, it’s phenomenal,” Hilbert said during his speech.
In the middle of the success were three seniors, who each had a unique story to get where they are today.
“The measure of a team is defined by its leadership,” Hilbert said. “This senior class is very unique; all three have difference stories of resiliency, dedication and most of all patience to get to this head table tonight."
After graduating four starters from its 2012 team, CSU was picked to finish second in the Mountain West for the first time since 2009. The Rams defied expectations, however, using strong defense and a balanced offensive attack to set a program-record winning percentage of .993 (28-2).
“We’re here to celebrate a phenomenal volleyball team that delivered a great season to us this year,” Director of Athletics Jack Graham said. “I’ve said repeatedly that the women’s volleyball program at Colorado State University is the poster child, they are the model athletic program for our university.
“It’s not just about the wins. The mantra that our student-athletes have adapted is to do it all. That’s why volleyball at Colorado State University is the model program. These three seniors, the entire team and the coaching staff are model citizens; they are what great character looks like, and they represent us perfectly. The team GPA on the women’s volleyball team is north of 3.4, and there’s no question about the fact that they deliver results on the volleyball court. What a phenomenal group of leaders you are. You represent us so well, you lead us so well and we’re so thankful for who you are as people and what you do for this university. Celebrate tonight; celebrate the greatness of this program and what they represent – the ‘Do It All’ standard.”
Other highlights to the season include:
- Program-record .933 winning percentage (28-2).
- 27 consecutive wins (program, Mountain West records; second-longest active streak in the NCAA at the time).
- Fifth consecutive Mountain West championship, just the second time in program history. CSU and Hawai’i are the only two teams to win their conference titles each of the past five years.
- 19th straight trip to the NCAA tournament, which ranks seventh nationally among active streaks. All-time, CSU has been to the tournament 25 times, which ranks 11th.
- Average attendance of 3,282, which was a program record and ranked seventh in the NCAA this season.
- 5 weeks ranked in the top 10 of the AVCA top-25 poll, peaking at No. 9, CSU’s highest national ranking since 2004.
- Head Coach Tom Hilbert, the AVCA Pacific North Coach of the Year, earned career victory No. 600 on Nov. 9, becoming one of 10 coaches in Division I women’s volleyball history to win at least 600 matches and hold a winning percentage above .770. Hilbert is 605-178 in 25 seasons as a head coach (.773).
- Senior Samantha Peters was named the 2013 Mountain West Player of the Year, while junior Deedra Foss and Head Coach Tom Hilbert were honored as setter and coach of the year, respectively. Additionally, sophomore Adrianna Culbert and junior Kelsey Snider were also named to the All-Mountain West team. Culbert, Foss and Peters also earned AVCA Honorable Mention All-America honors.
- 17 consecutive true road wins since Oct. 27, 2012 (program record).
- 21 straight home wins from Sept. 27, 2012-Nov. 15, 2013 (tied for second in CSU history; third-longest active streak in the NCAA at the time).
- 35 straight regular-season victories between Oct. 27, 2012 and Nov. 23, 2013 (program record; longest active streak in the NCAA at the time).
- 25 Mountain West victories in a row from Oct. 27, 2012 through Nov. 23, 2013.
- In addition to the school's best winning percentage, CSU’s 28 victories are tied for fifth, and its two losses are a program record.
- As a team, CSU ranked third in the nation in winning percentage, sixth in hitting (.299), 13th in blocks (2.84 per set), 14th in kills (14.44 per set) and 26th in assists (13.20 per set). The Rams and Stanford Cardinal were the only two teams to rank in the top 15 in hitting, blocking and kills. Individually, Deedra Foss ranked 10th with 11.76 assists per set, Samantha Peters ranked 15th in blocking (1.42 per set) and 23rd in hitting (.402), and Kelsey Snider ranked 47th in hitting (.365).
After a silent auction and dinner, the program began with a live auction, ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ game show and the debut of the 2013 highlight video. Hilbert then continued a CSU volleyball tradition by telling a self-created story. This year, he designed a series of inspirational and humorous posters to depict the 2013 season and senior class.
Four teams awards were given out during the night, including Team MVP and the Debbie Murphy Most Inspirational Player award, which are voted on by teammates.
- Bom Squad Award (scout team MVP): Acacia Andrews
- Coaches’ Award (most improved player): Marlee Reynolds
- Debbie Murphy Most Inspirational Player: Michelle Smith
- Team MVP: Samantha Peters
The night concluded with comments from each of CSU’s graduating seniors.
“I hope to be remembered as a teammate and friend, and that I've demonstrated the qualities we strive for in the CSU athletic department," Smith said in the closing of her speech. "Thank you for making this experience absolutely incredible, because I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. I'm confident that this program will have continued success, and I'll forever be proud to be a CSU Ram."
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