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Rams host Asics/Coors Classic to open season

Aug. 26, 2009

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Match No. 1 | #24 Colorado State (0-0) vs. RV Pepperdine (0-0)
Friday, Aug. 28 | 7 p.m. MT

Match No. 2 | #24 Colorado State (0-0) vs. Oregon State (0-0)
Saturday, Aug. 29 | 7 p.m. MT

Match No. 3 | #24 Colorado State vs. RV Cal Poly (0-0)
Sunday, Aug. 30 | 2 p.m. MT

Up next...Asics/Coors Classic
Colorado State begins the 2009 season at home, playing host to a strong field as part of the Asics/Coors Classic at Moby Arena. 

The No. 24-ranked Rams open the tournament against Pepperdine, who is receiving votes in the AVCA Division I Coaches top 25 preseason poll, on Friday at 7 p.m. MT at Moby Arena.  Colorado State will then face Pac-10 foe Oregon State on Saturday at 7 p.m. MT, before matching up with Cal Poly, also receiving top-25 votes, on Sunday at 2 p.m. 

The weekend will also see Cal Poly vs. Oregon State (Friday at 4:30 p.m.), Cal Poly vs. Pepperdine (Saturday at 4:30 p.m.) and Pepperdine vs. Oregon State (Sunday at 11:30). 

Rams on the radio
This weekend’s matches, like each of the Rams’ matches with the exception of the Sept. 18 contest at UNLV, will be broadcast live in the Fort Collins area on KCSU 90.5 FM.  Nick Sebesta (play-by-play) and Ryan Hilbig (color) are back once again to bring fans all the action.  Fans outside the normal listening area can access streaming audio via the Rams All-Access service on CSURams.com. 

The Colorado State volleyball program has been one of the most consistent in the nation over the past 14 seasons.  The Rams enter 2009 in search of their 15th consecutive campaign with at least 20 wins and a 15th straight berth in the NCAA tournament. 

Lights, cameras, action
Once again, Colorado State will be among the most televised teams in the Mountain West Conference.  The Rams will be televised five times in 2009.  Their Sept. 24 home match against New Mexico will be televised live on The Mtn., as will a Nov. 12 contest at Utah.  The Rams will also appear on The Mtn. on a tape-delay Oct. 22 at TCU, while their Nov. 14 match at BYU will be broadcast live on BYU-TV and re-air Nov. 15 on The Mtn.  In addition, the Rams’ match vs. Northern Colorado on Sept. 30 will be appear on Comcast Entertainment Television (Channel 5) in Colorado, and will air at 7 p.m. MT on Oct. 2.  The UNC match, like the BYU match, will also re-air on The Mtn. on Monday, Oct. 5. 

Follow the Rams online
Colorado State offers fans and media several options for following the CSU volleyball team.  In addition to CSURams.com, which is updated daily with all the latest news on CSU athletics, fans can also log onto RamVolleyball.colostate.edu for an inside look into all things Rams Volleyball.  In addition, CSU volleyball, and Head Coach Tom Hilbert are both on Twitter at twitter.com/CSUVolleyball and twitter.com/CoachHilbert.   

A quick look at the Rams
Colorado State returns four starters and eight letterwinners from a 2008 team that posted a 23-7 record, finished second in the Mountain West Conference with a 12-4 mark, peaked at No. 12 in the AVCA top 25 poll, and reached the NCAA tournament for the 14th consecutive season. 

The Rams were selected to finish second in the Mountain West Conference preseason poll released Aug. 4.  Utah, the defending champion, received eight first-place votes and was predicted to finish ahead of the Rams, who earned four first-place votes. New Mexico (3) and BYU (2) also received first-place votes and were selected to finish third and fourth, respectively.  TCU, UNLV and San Diego State were slotted fifth through seventh, while Wyoming and Air Force were selected to finish eighth and ninth, respectively, in the MWC standings.   

About Pepperdine
The Wave come to Fort Collins fresh off of a 20-8 campaign in 2008, and return six letterwinners and five starters, including sophomore libero and WCC Defensive Player of the Year Stevi Robinson.  Head Coach Nina Matthies enters her 27th season at Pepperdine, where she has compiled a career record of 494-294.  This marks the fifth time in the last six seasons that CSU and Pepperdine will meet.  The Wave hold a slim 5-4 advantage in the all-time series, including last year’s 3-1 win in Corvallis, Ore., as part of the Asics Classic.  It was the only blemish though the first 16 contests of 2008 for the Rams, who were ranked No. 17 nationally at the time.  The Rams defeated No. 18 Pepperdine, 3-1, in their last meeting in Moby Arena on Sept. 18, 2004. 

About Oregon State
The Beavers closed out the 2008 season with an overall record of 14-17 , but return nine letterwinners and five starters from last season’s squad.  Taras Liskevych leads OSU with a record of 37-74 entering his fifth season at the helm.  A former head coach of the U.S. Olympic women’s volleyball team, Liskevych has amassed a career record of 305-158-3 as a collegiate coach.  The Beavers return a 2008 Under Armour/Volleyball Magazine All-America honorable mention honoree in senior outside hitter Rachel Rourke.  Colorado State holds a 3-2 advantage in the all-time series with OSU.  The two programs have met in each of the past two seasons as part of the Asics Classic.  CSU defeated the Beavers last season, 3-0, in Corvallis, Ore., making amends for a 3-2 Beavers victory in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 2007. 

About Cal Poly
Cal Poly begins the 2009 season receiving votes in the AVCA top 25 poll, after finishing a 16-13 season in 2008. Head coach Jon Stevenson enters his fifth year with the Mustangs, where he has compiled a record of 81-33, and has amassed an overall record of 164-100 as a college head coach.  The Mustangs return seven players and three starters from last year’s squad.  The Rams hold a 4-2 advantage in the all-time series, including three consecutive victories over Cal Poly, but the two programs have not met on the volleyball court since the 1999 season, a 3-0 Rams victory at Moby Arena at the Coors Rocky Mountain Classic. 

Moby Madness
Entering the 2009 season, the Rams have defeated 28 consecutive opponents at Moby Arena, including victories over nationally ranked programs from Ohio State, Florida, BYU and Arizona over the last two seasons. 

Full Nelson
Senior middle blocker Tessa Nelson is the Rams’ lone returning all-Mountain West player from last season.  Nelson, who ranked third on the team in points scored against MWC opponents in 2008, behind departed seniors Mekana Barnes and Jaime Strauss, and was also selected as the 2009 Mountain West Conference preseason co-Player of the Year, along with New Mexico’s junior setter Jade Michaelsen. 

Poll position
The Colorado State volleyball team opens the 2009 season ranked No. 24 nationally in the AVCA coaches top 25 preseason poll released Aug. 18.  It marks the second consecutive season that Colorado State has appeared in the preseason top 25.  Colorado State has now been ranked in the AVCA poll for 17 consecutive weeks, after peaking at No. 12 in 2008 and finishing ranked 24th in the final poll released last December.

Rams in the rankings
The Rams will look to build upon their reputation as one of the nation’s top blocking teams once again in 2009.  Colorado State ended the 2008 season ranked fourth nationally, averaging 2.97 blocks per set, and was fifth at the end of the 2007 season with an average of 3.54 blocks per set.  Senior middle blocker Tessa Nelson is the Rams’ leading returner in blocks.  As a junior in 2008, she ranked 46th nationally averaging 1.16 blocks per set.  Sophomore Katelyn Steffan also appeared in the national rankings, coming in at 304 with an average of 0.82 blocks per set. 

Nelson and Steffan were also nationally ranked for hitting percentage in 2008.  Nelson finished 118th with a hitting percentage of .313, while Steffan’s .259 hitting percentage ranked as No. 301.

Junior outside hitter Jacque Davisson also closed the 2008 season in the national rankings.  Davisson, who notched 28 service aces in 93 sets played, ranked 205th with an average of 0.3 aces per set. 

Can you dig it?
Senior libero Katelin Batten returns as the Rams’ all-time leader in both digs and digs per set.  Through three seasons, Batten has recorded 1,304 digs, 63 more than the previous record held by Carrie Appleman (1989-92).  Batten’s career digs per set average of 3.90 also ranks atop the Rams’ record book.

Closing in on 500
Entering the 2009 season, Colorado State Head Coach Tom Hilbert is just 19 wins shy of 500 for his career.  Last season, Hilbert became the winingest coach in CSU annals when he surpassed Rich Feller with his 300th victory.  To date, Hilbert has 307 victories at the helm of the CSU program.

Tickets information
Season tickets are on sale now, and start at just $75 for adult general admission.  Single-match tickets begin at just $6 for adults and $4 for youth (ages 3-17).  Mini-plans, including the Pick 5 Plan and the Pepsi 4-Pack, are also available for purchase. 

More information on volleyball tickets is available by visiting CSURams.com,  calling 1-800/491-RAMS or stopping by the CSU athletic ticket office at the McGraw Athletic Center between 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.



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