Sept. 8, 2009
Match No. 7 | Colorado State (4-2) at Duke (5-1)
Wednesday, Sept. 9 | 5 p.m. MT | Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314)
Match No. 8 | Colorado State (4-2) vs. Marshall (7-0)
Friday, Sept. 11 | 2:30 p.m. MT | Dean E. Smith Center (21,750)
Match No. 9 | Colorado State (4-2) vs. Tennessee (5-1)
Saturday, Sept. 12 | 11 a.m. MT | Dean E. Smith Center (21,750)
Match No. 8 | Colorado State (4-2) at North Carolina (3-3)
Saturday, Sept. 12 | 5:30 p.m. MT | Dean E. Smith Center (21,750)
Colorado State, riding a four-match winning streak and coming off of a tournament title at the 2009 Hilton Classic, heads out on the road for the first time this season.
The Rams will go to North Carolina for four contests in a four-day span, beginning Tuesday against the Duke Blue Devils at 5 p.m. MT from Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The Rams then face off with Marshall, Tennessee and North Carolina as part of the 2009 Carolina Classic volleyball tournament at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The Rams and the Thundering Herd open the tournament on Friday afternoon with a 2:30 p.m. MT match. Colorado State plays two matches Saturday before returning to Fort Collins. The Lady Vols will challenge CSU at 11 a.m. MT, before CSU takes on host North Carolina at 5:30 p.m. MT.
Live statistics will also be available for each of the Rams’ contests by clicking on the “Gametracker” links from the schedule page on CSURams.com.
Rams on the radio
This week’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 will call all the acton live from the Tar Heel state. 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 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.
The Rams opened the season with a pair of home losses, their first in 28 consecutive matches at Moby Arena, to Pepperdine and Oregon State, but have bounced back with four straight victories, including a thrilling come-from-behind win in five sets over Ohio State on Sept. 4.
Recapping the Hilton Classic
The Colorado State volleyball team racked up three victories, running its current winning streak to four matches, and took home the title at the 2009 Hilton Classic. Behind the strong play of junior outside hitters Jacque Davisson and Danielle Minch, and senior middle blocker Tessa Nelson, all of whom earned all-tourney honors (Davisson, MVP), the Rams picked up dominant three-set sweeps over Georgia Southern and UT Arlington, and a thrilling five-set, come-from-behind victory against Big Ten foe Ohio State.
The Blue Devils, who are receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches’ top-25 poll, have stormed out of the gates to open the 2009 season with an overall record of 5-1 heading into Tuesday’s matchup with the Rams. After posting a record of 25-9, and making it to the second round of the NCAA tournament, Duke returns 11 letterwinners, including six starters (including libero), and has notched victories over Winsconsin (3-2), South Dakota (3-0), Georgia (3-1), South Alabama (3-0) and Tennessee State (3-0). Head coach Jolene Nagel, in her 12th season at Duke, has a record of 219-99 with the Blue Devils. Sophomore outside hitter/middle blocker Sophia Dunworth, a 2008 ACC all-freshman team member, leads the squad averaging 3.16 kills per set. Colorado State is 3-0 all-time against the Duke, but the two programs have not met on the volleyball court since 1991.
Marshall, coming off of a 13-15 campain in 2008, is off to an impressive 7-0 start to 2009. The team returns nine letterwinners and four starters from a season ago, and has now won eight consecutive regular-season matches dating back to the team’s final match of 2008. The team opened the season with title at the Hofstra University tournament, where they defeated Binghamton (3-0), Rhode Island (3-1) and host Hofstra (3-1). After a home win over the University of Charleston (W. Va.) Marshall picked up another crown at the High Point University tournament with victories over Davidson (3-1), Charlotte (3-2) and High Point (3-0). Thundering Herd head coach Mitch Jacobs is in his eighth season in Huntington, W. Va., where he has compiled an overall record of 152-81 entering play at the Carolina Classic. Friday’s matchup will mark the first in the series between CSU and Marshall.
The Tennessee Lady Volunteers enter play at the Carolina Classic 5-1 to start the season, with the team’s lone loss coming against seventh-ranked Michigan, 3-1, on Sept. 4. The team has notched three-set sweeps of Tennessee Tech, Lipscomb, Notre Dame, and at Xavier, and a five-set win against Western Kentucky. Tennessee returns 10 letterwinners and six starters (including libero), from last year’s team that finished 22-10 and made a trip to the first round of the NCAA tournament. Head coach Rob Patrick has posted a record of 248-154 in 13 seasons, all at Tennessee. Junior outside hitter Nikki Fowler leads the Lady Vols with 70 kills, 3.33 per set, while sophomore. The Rams and Lady Vols have split two previous meetings, but have not met since 1990, a 3-0 Rams victory.
About North Carolina
North Carolina closed the 2008 season with an overall record of 22-11, and a 15-5 conference mark, good enough to tie Tobacco Road rival Duke for first in the ACC, and earn a trip to the second round of the NCAA tournament. The team returns 10 letterwinners and three starters from the 2008 team, and has opened the 2009 campaign with a 3-3 mark, including a pair of losses to ranked opponents in No. 12 South Carolina (3-0) and No. 25 Wichita State (3-1), with a five-set loss to Michigan State sandwiched between them. The Tar Heels began the season with a 3-1 win over Albany, and bounced back from that three-game skid with two straight victories, vs. Oklahoma (3-2) and Grambling State (3-0), entering play in their home tournament. Head coach Joe Sagula is 384-249, in his 20th season at the helm of the UNC program. Saturday’s matchup with Colorado State will mark the third meeting between the two programs, and their second matchup in two seasons. CSU has won both previous meetings, including last year’s 3-0 victory as part of the Coors Rocky Mountain Challenge.
Freshmen make debuts
Redshirt freshman Brieon Paige, earning her first playing time at CSU and her first start since her senior year of high school, turned in an impressive performance for the Rams against UT Arlington on Sept. 5. Paige recorded eight kills while hitting .500 for the match, and adding four blocks in her collegiate debut.
Freshman middle blocker Tori Brummett also made her collegiate debut for the Rams in the Hilton Classic, earning a start against Georgia Southern on Sept. 3. Brummett notched four kills and two assisted blocks to help the Rams to a 3-0 victory over the Eagles.
More fresh faces
Freshmen Izzy Gaulia, a defensive specialist from Glendale, Ariz., and Dana Cranston, an outside hitter from Fort St. John, B.C., have both made tremendous impacts on the Rams early in the season. Gaulia has appeared in five of the Rams’ six matches, and is averaging 1.5 digs per set. Cranston has appeared in each of the Rams’ matches, showing off her all-around skill by averaging 0.88 kills, 0.71 assists, 1.71 digs and 0.53 blocks per set.
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 174-23 (.883) 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 at Moby 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.
It’s a boy!
Associate Head Coach Jesse Mahoney, who is in his fifth season at Colorado State, was not present for the Rams’ thrilling five-set victory over Ohio State on Sept. 4. Mahoney was awaiting the arrival of his third child, and second son, Declan Thomas Mahoney, who was born late that night. Mahoney, and his wife Gwen, also have 3-year-old daughter, Macy, and a 2-year-old son, Griffin.
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 added another 36 digs to her career total over the weekend, and moved into the top five in the MWC record book with 1,369 career digs. 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. Needing just one block to reach 400 for her career, Nelson notched 10 during the Hilton Classic, Sept. 3-5, becoming just the 10th player in CSU history to record 400 career blocks. She enters Wednesday’s game at Duke with 410 career blocks.
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. Since that season-opening performance against Pepperdine, CSU has hit .200 or better in five consecutive matches.
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 through the Rams’ first three matches.
Home away from home
Although Colorado State has opened 10 of the last 13 seasons in the friendly confines of Moby Arena, the team has still faired well when in its first matches away from Fort Collins each season under Coach Hilbert. In the last 12 seasons, the Rams are 8-4 in their first non-home matches of the season. Overall, Colorado State is 137-58 (.702) away from Moby Arena under Hilbert.
Closing in on 500
Colorado State Head Coach Tom Hilbert enters play this week just 15 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 at Colorado State. To date, Hilbert has 311 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 in the Sept. 1 poll.
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.
Recapping the Asics/Coors Classic
Colorado State opened the season by posting a record of 1-2 at the 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.
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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