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Rams volleyball picked to finish 2nd in Mountain West

Junior Deedra Foss, who was named to the All-MW Preseason Team, will look to guide CSU to its fifth straight Mountain West title.

Aug 20, 2013

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Despite losing four senior starters from last year’s Mountain West championship team, high expectations have again been placed on the Colorado State volleyball squad as the Rams were picked to finish second in the 2013 preseason poll. The announcement was made Tuesday afternoon by the conference after a vote from the league’s 11 head coaches.

San Diego State was picked as the favorite to win the conference, earning nine of the 11 first-place votes. CSU earned the two other top votes. The Aztecs and Rams each shared a 13-3 MW mark in 2012.

Additionally, junior setter Deedra Foss was named to the All-MW Preseason Team, one of seven players honored.

“I think being picked second speaks to the tradition we’ve had at CSU year in and year out,” Head Coach Tom Hilbert said. “There’s a lot of parity in this league, so I think five or six teams will legitimately be in the hunt.”

San Diego State earned 99 total points, followed by CSU’s 90. Third through sixth place were separated by just five points — UNLV (3rd; 70), Utah State (4th; 68), New Mexico (5th; 66) and Fresno State (6th; 65) — followed by Boise State (7th; 51), Wyoming (8th; 37), San José State (9th; 27), Air Force (10th; 17) and Nevada (11th; 15).

CSU went 21-8 and shared the Mountain West title in 2012, en route to an 18th straight appearance in the NCAA tournament, but lost four starters, tied with Boise State for the most in the conference. Despite not being picked first for the first time since 2009, Hilbert believes the pressure will be as strong as ever.

“With our history, we bring out the best in every team, and it may be even more so this year because they’re going to see our vulnerabilities,” Hilbert said. “Our team has to step up and win our home games, and at least half of our road games if we’re going to win the conference. That will be challenging.”

In the league’s 15-year history, the Rams have been picked to finish in the top three every season, also earning at least one first-place vote all 15 years. CSU has lived up to the lofty expectations, winning the regular-season crown 10 times in 14 seasons, including the past four. The other four seasons, CSU has finished second (three times) or third (once). The Rams have also earned five MW Championships titles in nine tournaments, totaling 15 overall MW titles.

While this marks Foss’ first career preseason accolade, the junior from McKenna, Wash., was named the MW Newcomer of the Year as a freshman in 2011, and last year earned an All-MW selection. In two seasons at CSU, she ranks ninth with 2,258 career assists. Last year, she was second in the MW with 11.11 assists per set in conference action, and CSU’s .294 hitting percentage ranked first.

“I think she’s been the best setter in the conference since she got here, frankly, but there are other good setters in this league,” Hilbert said. “She does a lot of good things; she blocks well, she serves well, she leads her team, she’s accurate. Going into this season, I think she will be the most impactful setter on a team because we’re so young. She has no problem handling that pressure, which is why she’s so good.”

Needing to fill several holes in order to reach its goal of winning the MW for a fifth consecutive season, Hilbert has been pleased with who has stepped up after seven days of two-a-day practices. At last week’s media/booster dinner, he stated that he feels very confident in Foss setting, sophomore Jaime Colaizzi at libero and senior Samantha Peters in the middle. Junior Kelsey Snider is expected to transition to the middle, leaving the biggest question to who will CSU’s pin hitters will be.

“We know Dri (Culbert) will be on the court because she’s a good attacker, serve-receives well and plays the entire game. Kaila (Thomas) and Marlee (Reynolds) have each had good practices; Michelle Lawrence has had some good practices. Someone has to emerge in those spots.”

The Rams, who are receiving top-25 votes, begin their 2013 campaign Friday, Aug. 30 vs. Baylor. Tickets can be purchased here.


Place Team (First-Place Votes) Points
1. San Diego State (9) 99
2. Colorado State (2) 90
3. UNLV 70
4. Utah State 68
5. New Mexico 66
6. Fresno State 65
7. Boise State 51
8. Wyoming 37
9. San José State 27
10. Air Force 17
11. Nevada 15


Player Class Position Team
Deedra Foss JR S Colorado State
Korrin Wild SR OH Fresno State
Chantale Riddle JR OPP New Mexico
Raegan Shelton SR OH San Diego State
Madeline Westman SR MB UNLV
Johnna Fouch (setter) SR S San Diego State
Miquella Lovato (libero) SR L New Mexico
Johnna Fouch (Player of the Year)
SR S San Diego State



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