April 16, 2014
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FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Head Coach Tom Hilbert announced a pair of additions to the Colorado State women's volleyball team Wednesday. Crystal Young signed her National Letter of Intent to play with the Rams, while Grace Gordon was added as a walk-on. Both players will have two years of eligibility remaining, and will be available for competition this fall.
"We have two players coming in, both of whom have experience and are good players who can learn under Deedra (Foss)," Hilbert said. "Adding Crystal and Grace makes us a better team."
Young comes to Fort Collins from Blinn College in Brenham, Texas. In two years setting for the Buccaneers, she set a school record for assists and helped her team to the NJCAA national title.
As a freshman, Young played in 29 of her team's 32 matches, averaging 8.38 assists per set and recording 21 aces. Her strong freshman campaign set her up for her sophomore year, in which she was named an NJCAA first-team All-American.
She set a single-season school record with 1,546 assists (10.96) this past fall, and led her team with 31 aces. Blinn College went 39-3 overall, winning the NJCAA national championship. In addition to being an NJCAA first-team All-American, Young was named an AVCA All-America second-team selection and her conference's setter of the year.
"Crystal is a good athlete with good junior college experience under her belt," Hilbert said. "She's won a national championship and has played against Division I competition in the offseason, so she's not as green as some freshmen are."
Prior to college, she was a three-year letterwinner at Clear Brook High School, earning all-district honors each season. She was born in Pasadena, Texas, and raised in Clear Lake.
"When I was looking to transfer, I wanted to find a place that was a good fit," Young said. "I wanted a place where I could play a high level of volleyball and somewhere I knew I'd be taken care of. CSU fits that. I'm really family oriented, and I found that at CSU. Between the coaches and players it's a good environment."
Gordon transfers to CSU after two seasons playing for the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. As a sophomore this past fall, she was captain and named MVP by her teammates. She started 25 matches for the Mountain Lions, averaging 9.57 assists and ranking third on the team with 2.39 digs per set.
In a three-set match vs. Regis on Nov. 1, she recorded a double-double for assists and digs, and added four kills on .571 hitting.
"Grace is the same way," Hilbert said. "She played at the Division II level, but she was a starter for two years at UCCS. In addition to being a setter, she can do a lot of ball handling, which I like."
Raised in Denver, Colo., Gordon is a 2012 graduate of Grandview High School. There, she won three conference, region and district championships, and was the 2011 state runner-up. As a senior she was named all-league, one of several individual honors she earned throughout her career.
Her mom, Jan, was a three-time All-America setter at Pacific, and her younger sister, Claire, will begin her collegiate volleyball career this fall at Metro State. Gordon plans to study human development and family studies at CSU.
"I love Fort Collins, and the atmosphere there," Gordon said. "I'm really excited to play with a great group of girls, and to play in front of Ram Country. It's a great opportunity."
While the Rams have Foss, the 2013 Mountain West Setter of the Year, returning for her senior campaign, Hilbert said he wouldn't rule out using both newcomers in some capacity this season.
Joining Gordon and Young this fall will be Sanja Cizmic, Jasmine Hanna and Alexandra Poletto, who signed their letters of intent in November. The Rams are coming off a record-breaking season, winning their first 27 matches en route to a 28-2 mark and fifth consecutive conference title.
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