Match notes: CSU hosts Rams Volleyball Classic presented by Poudre Valley Health System

Junior S Evan Sanders

Junior S Evan Sanders

Sept. 9, 2010

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Rams Volleyball Classic presented by Poudre Valley Health System
Sept. 10-11, 2010 | Fort Collins, Colo. | Moby Arena (8,745)

Gametracker:  CSURams.com
Radio:  90.5 KCSU FM | KCSUFM.com
Television:  None

Rams Volleyball Classic
No. 15 Colorado State returns to Moby Arena to host Texas Tech, Northeastern and Illinois State in the inaugural Rams Volleyball Classic presented by Poudre Valley Health System.  The tournament runs Friday and Saturday and features six matches in two days. The Rams face Texas Tech Friday at 7 p.m., then take on both Northeastern (12 p.m.) and Illinois State (7 p.m.) on Saturday.  The following is a complete tournament schedule: 

Friday
Illinois State vs. Northeastern • 4:30 p.m.
CSU vs. Texas Tech • 7 p.m.

Saturday
Illinois State vs. Texas Tech • 10 a.m.
CSU vs. Northeastern • 12 p.m.
Northeastern vs. Texas Tech • 4:30 p.m.
CSU vs. Illinois State • 7 p.m.

Local Heroes Night
Saturday evening’s Sept. 11 match between Colorado State and Illinois State has been designated “Local Heroes Night.”  Colorado State athletics is offering $1 admission to service men and women from all branches of the military, as well as members of the police, fire and EMT services. 

The CSU volleyball program got a first-hand look into the lives of some local heroes this week, when the team visited Pourdre Fire Authority fire station No. 1, for a meet-and-greet, tour, and deomonstration of the equipment. 

Rams on the radio
All home matches and select road contests, will be broadcast live in the Fort Collins area on KCSU 90.5 FM.  Andy Boshoven (play-by-play) will call all the action from courtside.  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.  CSU will appear on television at least five times this season, including matches vs. Colorado (CET - Aug. 31), at BYU (BYU-TV - Sept. 24), at Utah (CBS College Sports - Sept. 26), vs. TCU (The Mtn. - Oct. 14) and at New Mexico (The Mtn. - Nov. 11).

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/Coach Hilbert.  Rams volleyball is also on facebook, giving fans unprecedented access to CSU volleyball.     

A quick look at the Rams
Colorado State returns five starters and 10 letterwinners from a squad that went 25-6 (15-1 MWC), won the Mountain West Conference title, ranked No. 17 in the final top 25 poll, and appeared in the NCAA regional semifinals in 2009.  Add to that a recruiting class ranked No. 15 nationally by PrepVolleyball.com, and you have a team poised for big things in 2010.

Recognized as one of the most consistent programs in the country over the past 15 seasons, CSU entered 2010 in search of its 16th consecutive season with 20-plus wins and an appearance in the NCAA tournament. 

The team received 15 of 16 first-place votes to run away with the top spot in the preseason Mountain West Conference rankings, tallying 134 total points.   

Senior OH Danielle Minch was tabbed as the preseason favorite to repeat as the MWC Player of the Year.  Junior S Evan Sanders, a 2009 all-MWC performer in her first season as a starter, was also selected as the preseason Setter of the Year.  Sophomore MB Megan Plourde also returns after a stellar year as a redshirt freshman in 2009, where she earned all-MWC honors, and along with Minch and departed senior libero Katelin Batten, was named to the AVCA all-West region and honorable mention All-America teams.   

About Texas Tech
Texas Tech returns 10 letterwinners off of last season’s squad that went 2-27 in its first season under head coach Trish Knight. Despite struggles during their 2009 season, the Raiders already have two wins under their belts for the 2010 season, against UTSA and Texas State.  Knight has a career record of 681-203, and is entering her 18th season of coaching.  Friday’s match marks the fifth time that the Rams have faced the Raiders.  CSU leads the series, 4-0.

About Northeastern
Northeastern travels to Fort Collins after adding another win to its 2010 record this past Tuesday, defeating University of New Hampshire in three sets.  With a current record of 5-2, the Huskies returned four starters from the 2009 season.  Head coach Ken Nichols is entering his 11th season at NU, and holds a career record of 235-168.  Saturday’s match against CSU will be the first time that the two teams have met.

About Illinois State
The Redbirds started off their 2010 season 4-0 for the first time since 1992 and just the eighth time in school history. With a current record of 6-2, ISU went to five sets in all three of its matches of the IU Adidas Classic. The Illinois State roster holds a core of three strong seniors, all in their fourth year with the program, and together totaling 1,908 kills, 1,272 digs and 476 blocks.  The Rams haven’t met the Redbirds since 2007, when they played in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.  Colorado State has won all four meetings with Illinois State, sweeping the Redbirds in all four matches (1986, 1987, 1998, 2007).

Davisson, Plourde earn all-tournament honors
Colorado State’s duo of Jacque Davisson and Megan Plourde earned all-tournament honors last week following the Rams’ 2-1 showing at the University of Florida’s Campus USA Credit Union Invitational.  Davisson was selected as the tournament MVP, leading the Rams in kills in each of the three matches, including a match-high 19 kills in a four-set loss to the No. 6-ranked Gators.  Davisson averaged 4.3 kills per set and was solid defensively with 24 digs and four total blocks on the weekend.  Plourde finished third on the team with 23 kills, leading the charge for the Rams with 10 total blocks.   

Rams vs. ranked opponents under Hilbert
Colorado State is 36-41 against nationally ranked opponents under Head Coach Tom Hilbert.  Since 2007, the Rams have posted a record of 5-3 in regular-season matchups against top-25 opponents, including CSU’s loss (3-1) at No. 6 Florida on Sept. 4.  CSU’s next match against a ranked opponent is scheduled for Sept. 17 vs. No. 23 Long Beach State. 

Moby Madness
Moby Arena is one of the most distinctive and effective homecourt playing facilities in the nation.  Colorado State boasted a 15-3 mark at Moby Arena in 2009, and is off to a 3-0 start in 2010.   

Since Tom Hilbert’s arrival in Fort Collins in 1997, the Rams have hosted 33 nationally ranked opponents, coming away with victories in 23 of those contests.  CSU’s NCAA tournament victory last season over No. 6 Washington marked the Rams’ fifth consecutive home victory over a ranked opponent, dating back to a 3-0 victory over No. 13 Ohio State on Aug. 30, 2007.  During that stretch, the Rams have also hosted and beaten opponents from Florida (No. 8 on Sept. 13, 2008), BYU (No. 24 on Sept. 20, 2008), Arizona (No. 25 on Oct. 4, 2008), and Washington (No. 6 on Dec. 4, 2009). 

CSU hosts four matches in 2010, including the team’s season opener vs. Duke (Aug. 31), against competition that received votes in the AVCA Division I Coaches top 25 preseason poll.

Record-breaking crowd
The Moby Arena faithful established a new single-match attendance record for CSU volleyball during the Rams’ season-opening victory over Duke on Aug. 27.  As part of a special “White Out” promotion, 6,333 fans packed the stands of Moby, eclipsing the old CSU volleyball attendance mark of 6,260 set in 1988 (vs. BYU).  The Rams’ record crowd also established a new single-match home record for the Mountain West Conference, surpassing CSU’s own record set vs. BYU in 2001 (5,486).  CSU now owns the top three home crowds in MWC volleyball history.

In addition, CSU’s home crowd vs. Duke marked the biggest crowd at Moby Arena for any sport since men’s basketball drew 8,597 against Wyoming on Feb. 24, 2007. 

Colorado State enters action this weekend ranked No. 2 nationally in attendance, averaging 3,710 fans per match through the team’s first three matches of the season. 
 
Poll position

The Colorado State volleyball team opened the 2010 season ranked No. 17 nationally in the AVCA coaches top 25 preseason poll released Aug. 17.  It marked the third consecutive season that Colorado State has appeared in the preseason top 25.  Following opening-weekend victories over Duke and Furman, the Rams jumped to No. 15 in the Week 1 poll released Aug. 30, where the team remains in the latest poll released Monday.  Colorado State has now been ranked in the AVCA poll for seven consecutive weeks, after cracking the top 25 for the final three regular-season polls of 2010 and finishing No. 17 in the season-ending poll after a postseason trip to the NCAA regional semifinals last December. 

Statistically speaking
Colorado State closed the 2009 season ranking nationally in a number of different categories, including a national ranking of No. 19 (out of 329 programs ranked) in winning percentage (.806). The Rams also ranked 22nd in blocks per set (2.63), and were 64th in hitting percentage (.235), 77th in kills per set (13.29), 89th in assists per set (12.17), 153rd in digs per set (14.68), and 290th in aces per set (0.92). 

Individually, outside hitter Danielle Minch and middle blocker Megan Plourde each ranked in two categories.  Minch was 74th in kills per set (3.80) and 97th in points per set (4.17).  Plourde ranked 83rd in hitting percentage (.331) and 101st in blocks per set (1.08).   Setter Evan Sanders ranked 63rd with 10.56 assists per set.

National statistical rankings for the 2010 season will be available beginning Sept. 13. 

The Rams roster
Colorado State returned a decorated roster for the 2010 season, including three players - Danielle Minch, Megan Plourde and Evan Sanders - who earned all-Mountain West honors in 2009.  Minch, a senior outside hitter, was named the 2009 MWC Player of the Year.  Head Coach Tom Hilbert is coming off of his seventh MWC Coach of the Year award.  Departed senior, Katelin Batten, also earned special recognition a the top libero in the league.  

In addition to the Rams’ returning lineup, CSU welcomes one of the top recruiting classes in the nation to Moby Arena.  The 2010 freshman class was ranked 15th nationally by PrepVolleyball.com, the highest ranking among Mountain West Conference schools.  It marked  the fifth time since 2005 that the Rams appeared on the list.  According to PrepVolleyball.com, the Rams’ incoming class of Deedra Foss, Marlee Reynolds, Katie Rutherford and Kelsey Snider, will rank as one of the most physical classes recruited by Hilbert and his staff.  In addition, the Rams have also added sophomore middle blocker Sam Peters, a product of Englewood, Colo. (Cherry Creek H.S.), who transferred to CSU after spending her freshman season at Santa Clara University. 

Key losses from 2009
Key losses for the Rams include a pair of senior starters from the 2009 squad, middle blocker Tessa Nelson and libero Katelin Batten.  Nelson ranks among the best blockers in school history and entered 2009 as the MWC’s preseason co-Player of the Year.  She closed out her career at CSU earning all-tournament honors for the NCAA Minneapolis Regional.  Batten, who rewrote CSU’s single-game, single-season and career record books for digs, had another stellar year in 2009, earning all-region and honorable mention All-America accolades.  Nelson and Batten both earned all-MWC honors as seniors.  

Returning all-region selections
Danielle Minch and Megan Plourde return to the Rams after earning American Volleyball Coaches’ Association (AVCA) all-West region honors in 2009.  Departed senior libero Katelin Batten was also selected.  By virtue of their selection to the all-region squad, the trio were also named AVCA honorable mention All-Americans.  

Hilbert reaches milestones in 2009
Head Coach Tom Hilbert eclipsed the 500-win plateau as a head coach in 2009, and enters the 2010 season with an overall record of 506-157 in 21 seasons.  His career win percentage of .763 ranks 11th nationally among NCAA DI head coaches.  Hilbert’s win percentage is even more impressive since arriving in Fort Collins, where he has amassed a record of 332-85 (.796) in 13 seasons at the helm. 

Rams in the rankings
Colorado State closed the 2009 season ranked No. 17 in the AVCA Coaches’ top-25 poll.  It marked the 13th time since 1982 that the Rams appeared in the final national rankings.  Eight of those final national rankings have come under the guidance of Head Coach Tom Hilbert

Year Final Rank Record Postseason
1997 19 27-6 NCAA Second Round
1999 12 30-3 NCAA Regional Semifinal
2000 10 32-5 NCAA Regional Semifinal
2001 10 29-4 NCAA Regional Semifinal
2003 14 30-5 NCAA Regional Semifinal
2004 19 26-4 NCAA First Round
2008 24 23-7

NCAA Second Round

2009 17 25-6 NCAA Regional Semifinal
 
Up next
Colorado State closes a five-match homestand Sept. 16 and 17, hosting Virginia Commonwealth and No. 23-ranked Long Beach State at Moby Arena.  The Rams take on VCU Friday and square off against the 49ers on Saturday.  Both matches are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. MT.  VCU and LBSU will also face one another Saturday at 12 p.m. 


 

 

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