Sept. 2, 2009
Match No. 4 | Colorado State (1-2) vs. Georgia Southern (3-0)
Thursday, Sept. 3 | 7 p.m. MT
Match No. 5 | Colorado State (1-2) vs. Ohio State (4-0)
Friday, Sept. 4 | 7 p.m. MT
Match No. 6 | Colorado State vs. UT Arlington (1-3)
Saturday, Sept. 5 | 1 p.m. MT
Up next...Hilton Classic
Colorado State continues its non-conference slate, hosting the 18th annual Hilton Classic at Moby Arena. The tournament, which runs Sept. 3-5, includes six matches in three days between CSU, Georgia Southern, Ohio State, and UT Arlington.
The Rams open the tournament against the Georgia Southern Eagles in a single match beginning Thursday at 7 p.m. The teams will play two contests on Friday, beginning with Georgia Southern vs. UT Arlington at 4:30 p.m., followed by Colorado State vs. Ohio State at 7 p.m.
The tournament will conclude with three matches on Saturday. The first tilt of the day features Georgia Southern vs. Ohio State. Colorado State closes its weekend of competition against UT Arlington at 1 p.m. UT Arlington and Ohio State will then play the final match of the weekend at 7 p.m. Saturday evening.
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.
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.
Recapping the Asics/Coors Classic
Colorado State opened the season by posting a record of 1-2 at last weekend's Asics/Coors Classic at Moby Arena. The Rams rebounded from back-to-back home losses to Pepperdine (3-0) and Oregon State (3-0), closing the tournament with an impressive 3-0 win over the Cal Poly Mustangs.
Pepperdine captured the tournament championship with a perfect 3-0 record that included sweeps of CSU and Cal Poly, and a 3-1 victory over Oregon State. The Beavers finished second with an overall record 2-1. The Rams took home third place, while Cal Poly finished 0-3 on the weekend to finish last in the field.
Colorado State junior outside hitter Jacque Davisson was selected to the Asics/Coors Classic all-tournament team, along with Oregon State's Rachel Rourke and Jill Sawatzky, and Pepperdine's Rachel Grochmal, Lilla Frederick, and tournament MVP Kiah Fiers.
About Georgia Southern
The Eagles come to Fort Collins from Statesboro, Ga., and the Southern Conference, where last season's squad posted a record of 16-18 and finished third in the league with a 9-9 mark. The team returns 10 letterwinners and four starters, including senior libero Cristin Haines. Head coach Chad Callihan leads the Eagles in his second season at GSU, and his eighth overall as a head coach. Georgia Southern opened its season last weekend, hosting the Holiday Inn Invitational at home, and finishing with a 3-0 record with victories over Presbyterian College (3-0), Stetson (3-0) and Troy (3-1). Sophomore outside hitter Bethany Sanford is off to a hot start for the Eagles, earning SoCon Player of the Week honors after leading GSU with 37 kills on .364 hitting in three matches. Colorado State and Georgia Southern have never met on the volleyball court.
About Ohio State
Ohio State closed out the 2008 season with an overall record of 12-20 in head coach Geoff Carlston's first season at the helm of the program. However, the Buckeyes return 10 letterwinners and six starters from last season's squad, and are off to a 4-0 start to 2009, with victories over Rider (3-0), North Carolina A&T (3-0), Maryland Eastern Shore (3-0) and host William & Mary (3-1) at the Tribe Invitational last weekend. Colorado State holds a 3-1 advantage in the all-time series with OSU, and has won three consecutive matches vs. the Buckeyes. Their last meeting came in 2007, a 3-0 CSU victory over then No. 13-ranked Ohio State as part of the Coors Classic at Moby Arena.
About UT Arlington
UT Arlington closed the 2008 season with an overall record of 7-23 (3-13 Southland West), but returns nine letterwinners and six starters for 2009. Head Coach Diane Seymour, in her sixth season as a head coach (all at UTA) has an 82-75 career record, after opening the season 1-3. The Mavericks lost to Oral Roberts (3-0) and host Illinois State (3-1) but picked up a victory over Gardner Webb (3-0) to close the Illinois State Redbird Classic tourney, and dropped a three-set match at Arkansas on Tuesday evening. Colorado State holds a 3-1 advantage in the all-time series with UTA, including victories in their last two matchups. However, the teams have not faced one another since playing four times in five seasons from 1989-93.
Over the years, Moby Arena has provided one of the most effective home-court advantages in the NCAA for the CSU volleyball program. Entering the 2009 season, CSU had won 28 consecutive home matches at Moby Arena, and prior to the Aug. 28-29 losses to Pepperdine and Oregon State, the Rams had not lost back-to-back home matches since suffering back-to-back losses to nationally ranked foes from BYU (#20) and Utah (#9) in the final two matches of the 2006 regular season. Under Head Coach Tom Hilbert, the Rams are 171-23 (.881) in Moby Arena. Since Coach Hilbert's arrival in 1997, CSU has also played 32 ranked opponents in Moby Arena, coming away with victories in 22 of those matches, including four consecutive victories over ranked opponents dating back to a 3-0 win over No. 13 Ohio State on Aug. 30, 2007.
Sophomore setter Evan Sanders recorded her first-career double-double with 32 assists and 10 digs against Oregon State on Aug. 29. Sanders joins junior outside hitter Jacque Davisson and senior middle blocker Tessa Nelson as active Rams with double-doubles in their careers.
Can you dig it?
Senior libero Katelin Batten entered the 2009 season as the Rams' all-time leader in both digs and digs per set. Through three seasons, Batten had 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. With the team-best 29 digs she recorded during the Asics/Coors Classic, Batten drew closer to the top five on the MWC all-time list. The only active player currently in the top 10, Batten is 18 digs shy of tying TCU's Callie Carly (2005-07) for fifth all-time at 1,351. Averaging 435 digs per season, Batten is on pace to reach as high as third on the MWC list. UNLV's Jada Walker (2004-07) ranks first with 2,055 career digs.
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. Nelson ranked 46th nationally with 1.18 blocks per set as a junior in 2008 and enters this weekend's action at the Hilton Classic just one block shy of 400 for her career. Her 399 career blocks rank 10th all-time in the CSU record books.
Improving with every match
After a sluggish start to the season that saw Colorado State swept in its home opener to Pepperdine, Rams' Head Coach Tom Hilbert reiterated to his team the importance of learning from that contest and improving with every set. And the Rams did just that over the remainder of the Asics/Coors Classic. After hitting just .163 against the Waves, the Rams put together much improved offensive performances against Oregon State and Cal Poly, hitting .224 and .351, respectively, to close out the weekend.
Ace in the hole
Entering this season with 11 service aces to her credit, and with the Rams having been held without a single ace in their first two matches, junior outside hitter Danielle Minch recorded three aces in the CSU victory over Cal Poly on Aug. 30. It capped a strong performance for Minch, who recorded team bests with 15 kills and a .414 hitting percentage, plus five assisted blocks against the Mustangs. Overall, Minch led the Rams with 32 kills and ranked second on the team, behind Tessa Nelson, with eight total blocks.
Closing in on 500
Colorado State Head Coach Tom Hilbert enters play this weekend just 18 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 308 victories at the helm of the CSU program.
The Colorado State volleyball team opened the 2009 season ranked No. 24 nationally in the AVCA coaches top 25 preseason poll released Aug. 18. It marked the second consecutive season that Colorado State has appeared in the preseason top 25. Colorado State was ranked in the AVCA poll for 17 consecutive weeks, before falling out of the top 25 this week. The Rams received four votes in the latest poll released Monday.
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.
Buck the Bucks for a Buck
Special ticket pricing is being offered for Saturday’s match against the Ohio State Buckeyes as part of CSU’s “Buck the Bucks for a Buck” promotion. Adult general admission tickets to the CSU vs. OSU match will be sold for just $1.
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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