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Match notes: CSU volleyball hosts rival Wyoming on Friday

Oct. 28, 2009

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Match 22 | Colorado State vs. Wyoming
Oct. 30, 2009 | 7 p.m. MT | Fort Collins, Colo. | Moby Arena (8,745)

Up next
The Colorado State volleyball program (17-4, 9-1 MWC) looks to extend its nine-match home winning streak, and stay atop the Mountain West Conference standings, hosting Border War rival Wyoming on Friday night at Moby Arena.

The Cowgirls (10-14, 1-9 MWC), come to Fort Collins in eighth place in the MWC standings, and are in search of their first road win since Oct. 8 at Air Force.  The Rams have won 23 consecutive matches in the series between the two schools dating back to 1997.

Rams on the radio
Each of Colorado State’s remaining matches this season will be broadcast live in the Fort Collins area on KCSU 90.5 FM.  Nick Sebesta, Ryan Hilbig and Andy Boshoven will bring fans all the action from courtside.  Fans outside the normal listening area can access streaming audio via the Rams’ All-Access service at CSURams.com/allaccess.

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 was broadcast live on The Mtn., as will a Nov. 12 contest at Utah. The Rams also appeared on The Mtn. 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 appeared on Comcast Entertainment Television in Colorado. 

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.  

Live statistics are also available for Rams volleyball matches by clicking the “GameTracker” logo on the volleyball “Schedule/Results” page on CSURams.com. 

A quick look at the Rams
Colorado State returned 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.

The team suffered a setback to start a four-match road swing in Carolina, falling at Duke, 3-0, on Sept. 9.  However, the Rams rebounded in impressive fashion, notching three consecutive victories over Marshall, Tennessee and North Carolina to win the Carolina Classic volleyball tournament.

The team won 12 straight matches between Sept. 11 and Oct. 22.  During the Rams’ winning streak, the team recorded four consecutive sweeps over UNLV (Sept. 18), New Mexico (Sept. 24), TCU (Sept. 26), and Wyoming (Oct. 2), to open MWC play.  The Rams lost their first set of the conference season at San Diego State (Oct. 8), picking up a 3-1 victory over the Aztecs, and then back with three straight sweeps over at Air Force (Oct. 10), and at home vs. BYU (Oct. 15) and Utah (Oct. 17) to get through the first half of MWC action with a perfect 8-0 record. 

The Rams opened the second half of the MWC season, Oct. 22 at TCU.  The Horned Frogs handed CSU their first conference loss, a 3-0 setback, but CSU responded with a thrilling 3-2 victory at New Mexico (Oct. 25), to maintain the team’s one-match lead over the Horned Frogs in the standings. 

Recapping Week 9:  at TCU and at New Mexico
The Colorado State volleyball team dropped its first match of the conference season at TCU (Oct. 22), but picked up a thrilling, five-set victory at New Mexico (Oct. 24) to maintain a one-match lead in the MWC standings two matches into the second half of the team’s conference slate. 

Thanks to a school-record crowd of 1,875 fans, the Horned Frogs made it three in a row against the Rams at home, snapping No. 25-ranked CSU’s 12-match winning streak, and handing the MWC-leading Rams their first loss of the conference season, 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-10).  TCU recorded seven service aces in the match, a season high for a CSU opponent.

The Rams, who were held without a player in double-figure kills for the first time since the season opener, struggled to find a rhythm on offense, hitting just .097 for the match.  It was the Rams’ lowest hitting percentage since a .072 effort at Duke on Sept. 9, the Rams’ last loss before starting their 12-match win streak.

The Rams rebounded from that disappointing loss, with a key road victory over the Lobos.  Colorado State won a see-saw battle at UNM’s Johnson Center that saw an incredible 41 ties and 20 lead changes throughout the match.  Four Rams tallied double-figure kills, led by 14 each from redshirt freshman Megan Plourde, and junior Danielle Minch.

Plourde, a middle blocker from Somerset, Wis., came up big for the Rams throughout the match, notching her 14 kills while committing just three errors on 22 swings to finish with a .500 hitting percentage.  She also played a key role on defense for the Rams, tallying a match high, and career high with nine total blocks.

Libero Katelin Batten, regarded as one of the top defensive players in the MWC, also played a vital role in the Rams’ defensive efforts.  The senior from Parker, Colo., continued a streak of consecutive matches with double-figures digs, running it to 18 straight with a 20-dig effort.  It also marked her fourth 20-dig match of the season.  Junior defensive specialist Audrey Hemmings pitched in with 10 digs for the Rams.

The Rams returned home from the road trip with an overall record of 17-4 and a 9-1 mark in the MWC. 

About Wyoming
The Cowgirls, who were selected to finish eighth in the Mountain West Conference preseason poll, enter this week’s action in just that position with an overall record of 10-14 and a 1-9 mark in MWC play.  The team enters Friday’s matchup with CSU on a five-match losing streak, dating back to a 3-0 road victory over last-place Air Force on Oct. 8. 

Freshman outside hitter Jodi Purdy ranks third in the Mountain West Conference in kills per set (3.45), just behind BYU’s Kayla Walker and CSU’s Danielle Minch.  She is the only freshman to appear in the top 10.  Junior setter Barbara Lasic averages 10.22 assists per set, which ranks third in the league behind SDSU’s Lauren Van Orden and CSU’s Evan Sanders.  Junior JennaRae Jester is the team’s top blocker, ranking fourth in the MWC with an average of 1.13 blocks per set.  CSU’s Tessa Nelson leads the category, averaging 1.29 blocks per set.  Senior Jessica Kagarise leads the Cowgirls, collecting 3.77 digs per set, sixth in the MWC.  Another Ram, Katelin Batten, also leads that category in the MWC, averaging 4.24 digs per set. 

As a team, the Cowgirls rank eighth in hitting percentage (.189) and blocks (2.06 per set), while coming in at seventh in kills (12.08 per set).  Wyoming, however, ranks among the top serving teams in the conference, averaging 1.31 aces per set, third in the league behind TCU (1.60) and Air Force (1.34).

Head coach Carrie Yerty is in her second season at the helm of the Wyoming program, where she has compiled a record of 15-34.  Overall, she is 248-208 in 14 seasons as a head coach. 

Rams vs. Cowgirls
Friday’s matchup marks  the 67th meeting in the “Border War” series between Colorado State and Wyoming.  Colorado State holds a 48-18 advantage in the all-time series. Since the formation of the Mountain West Conference in 1999, the Rams are 21-0 against the Cowgirls.  CSU has won 23 consecutive matches dating back to a 3-0 road loss on Nov. 17, 1997, Head Coach Tom Hilbert’s first season at CSU.

Rams vs. the MWC
Since the formation of the Mountain West Conference in 1999, the Colorado State volleyball team has proven to be the most successful program in the league.  The Rams have compiled a record of 134-24 (.848) in Mountain West Conference matches, including an impressive 72-6 (.923) mark at Moby Arena vs. the MWC, and a 62-18 (.775) record on the road in league action  The team has averaged 12.5 conference victories per season, and entered the 2009 season with nine more victories than the next closest program, Utah.

Rams in the RPI
The NCAA has released RPI ratings for each of the 330 teams competing at the NCAA Division I level.  The ratings, based on results through matches played Oct. 25, have the Rams ranked No. 18, the highest ranking among Mountain West Conference teams.  TCU (44), New Mexico (50), and Utah (64) rank behind the Rams, followed by San Diego State (113), BYU (114), UNLV (143), Wyoming (225) and Air Force (242). 

Moby Madness
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 179-23 (.886) in Moby Arena. 

Colorado State is currently rides a nine-match home winning streak into Friday’s contest vs. rival Wyoming.  During that stretch, the Rams have lost just four sets. 

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.  During that stretch, the Rams have also hosted and beaten opponents from Florida (No. 8 on Sept. 13, 2009), BYU (No. 24 on Sept. 20, 2009) and Arizona (No. 25 on Oct. 4, 2009). 

Closing in on 500
Colorado State Head Coach Tom Hilbert enters play this week just two wins shy of 500 for his career, coming into Friday’s match with an overall mark of 498-155 (.763). Last season, Hilbert became the winningest coach in CSU annals when he surpassed Rich Feller with his 300th victory at Colorado State. To date, Hilbert has 324 victories at the helm of the CSU program.

Poll position
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.  The Rams returned to the poll at No. 25 on Oct. 19, but are receiving votes heading into action this week. 

Attendance leaders
Colorado State volleyball annually ranks among the national leaders in attendance and the 2009 season is no exception.  The Rams have averaged 1,824 fans though their first 11 home matches this season, including a season-best 3,876 fans at the season opener vs. Pepperdine on Aug. 28.  The Rams currently rank 18th on the list, and are the top team in the Mountain West Conference in terms of average attendance.  New Mexico, ranks 24th averaging 1,548 fans through 12 home matches.   

Home away from home
While Colorado State annually ranks among the national leaders in terms of home wins, including back-to-back undefeated seasons of 14-0 in 2007 and 2008, CSU has also fared well on the road since Head Coach Tom Hilbert’s arrival in Fort Collins in 1997.  Overall, Colorado State is 145-60 (.707) away from Moby Arena under Hilbert’s guidance. 
On a hot streak
After opening the season 0-2, the Colorado State volleyball team won 16 of 17 matches, including 12 straight between Sept. 11, a 3-0 win over Marshall at the Carolina Classic on Chapel Hill, N.C., and Oct. 22, a 3-0 loss at TCU.  The Rams’ winning streak was the team’s longest since last season, when CSU rattled off 13 straight between Sept. 6 and Oct. 12.  It also marks the third time in the last four seasons that CSU had won at least 10 consecutive matches in a season.  Since Tom Hilbert’s arrival in Fort Collins in 1997, the Rams have posted winning streaks of at least 10 matches in 10 seasons.  The Rams’ longest winning streak under Hilbert was a 23-match stretch between Sept. 20 and Dec. 6, 2003.  The streak was snapped in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament by No. 3-ranked Florida in Gainsville, Fla.

# Year Start Date Opponent End Date Opponent
23 2003 Sept. 20 UW-Milwaukee (W, 3-1) Dec. 12 at #3 Florida (L, 0-3)
20 2001 Aug. 31 Arkansas (W, 3-0) Nov. 3 at #15 Utah (L, 2-3)
19 2000 Sept. 5 at Colorado (W, 3-1) Oct. 26 at #16 BYU (L, 0-3)
17 1999 Sept. 1 #19 Colorado (W, 3-0) Oct. 16 at UNLV (L, 1-3)
13 2008 Sept. 6 at Oregon (W, 3-0) Oct. 17 at UNLV (L, 1-3)
13 2004 Aug. 29 Georgia Tech (W, 3-1) Oct. 15 #18 Utah (L, 1-3)
13 1998 Sept. 18 Maryland (W, 3-1) Oct. 29 at Rice (L, 1-3)
12 2009 Sept. 11 vs. Marshall (W, 3-0) Oct. 22 at TCU (L, 0-3) 
12 2006 Sept. 22 New Mexico (W, 3-0) Nov. 10 at UNLV (L, 2-3)
11 1997 Oct. 4 at Utah (W, 3-1) Nov. 13 at Wyoming (L, 0-3) 

As easy as 1-2-3
Having finished 15 of its 21 matches - and 12 of the team’s 17 victories on the season - in just three sets, the Colorado State volleyball team has been making quick work of opponents.  The 15 three-set decisions equate to 71.4 percent of the Rams’ schedule.  Entering this week’s matchup with Wyoming, the Rams have dropped just six sets to MWC foes this season.

Rams in the rankings
Colorado State ranks nationally in a number of different categories, including a national ranking of No. 15 (out of 329 programs ranked) in blocks per set (2.78). The Rams also rank 22nd in winning percentage ( 0.810), and are 62nd in hitting percentage (.237), 88th in kills per set (13.08), 100th in assists per set (11.94), 124th in digs per set (14.81), and 299th in aces per set (0.86) though matches played Oct. 25. 

Individually, junior outside hitter Danielle Minch, senior middle blocker Tessa Nelson, and freshman middle blocker Megan Plourde each rank categories.  Minch  is 91st in kills per set (3.64) and 108th in points per set (4.08).  Nelson, Plourde both rank in blocks per set and hitting percentage.  Nelson is 30th in the country in blocks per set (1.29), and 203rd in hitting percentage (.296) while Plourde ranks 31st in hitting percentage (.377) and 102nd in blocks per set (1.08).  Sophomore setter Evan Sanders ranks 71st with 10.33 assists per set, and senior libero Katelin Batten is 105th, averaging 4.24 digs per set.

Plourde playing well
Redshirt freshman Megan Plourde, who was granted a medical hardship waiver after appearing in five sets in 2008, leads CSU’s freshman class with 131 kills.  She ranks first on the team, and second in the MWC, with hitting percentage of .377 entering this week’s match vs. Wyoming.

Since notching a then-career-high nine kills at North Carolina on Sept. 12, Plourde has recorded 99 kills (2.41 per set) on .455 hitting with a team-leading 51 total blocks in the Rams’ last 12 matches. 

During that stretch,  Plourde has recorded her first three double-digit kills games of her career, posting 10 vs. New Mexico (Sept. 24), putting away 13 kills vs. Northern Colorado (Sept. 30), and leading the Rams to victory at New Mexico (Oct. 24) with 14 kills.  She has also eclipsed four or more blocks in seven contests this season, including a career-high nine total blocks at New Mexico. 

Facing one of their toughest road challenges of the season at San Diego State (Oct. 8), it was Plourde’s impressive performance that was a catalyst for the Rams 3-1 victory.  Plourde came up big for the Rams, notching 11 kills, including three in the deciding set, on .688 hitting (11-0-16) to carry CSU to victory.  She also posted a match-high six blocks (one solo) for the Rams, who outblocked the Aztecs by a margin of 10-7.  Plourde’s .688 hitting against the Aztecs was good enough to rank fourth all-time in a four-set match in CSU history.  

Against MWC opponents, Plourde leads the conference in hitting efficiency, killing 44.4 percent of her total attacks though 10 conference matches.  She also ranks second against MWC opponents, averaging 1.36 blocks per set. 

Double trouble
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.  She now has six on the season after posting double-doubles vs.  Ohio State (35 assists, 10 digs), at Duke (31 assists, 11 digs), vs. Tennessee (36 assists, 16 digs), vs. TCU (26 assists, 11 digs),  and vs. Northern Colorado (61 assists, 12 digs). 

Davisson is the only other Ram to record a double-double this season.  She enters this week’s action with four to her credit, vs. UT Arlington (11 kills, 10 digs), vs. Marshall (11 kills, 11 digs), vs. Tennessee (11 kills, 15 digs), and at San Diego State (10 kills, 10 digs).  Davisson has notched eight double-doubles in her career, 15th among active MWC players.   

Minch killing the competition
Junior outside hitter Danielle Minch recorded double-figures kills in seven consecutive matches for the Rams between Sept. 4 and Sept. 18, leading the Rams to a 6-1 mark over that time.  The stretch began with a 16-kill performance in the Rams’ five-set thriller over Ohio State, and continued Sept. 5 vs. UT Arlington as CSU rolled to the Hilton Classic tournament title and Minch earned all-tournament honors.  The Sterling, Colo., native then took the show on the road, recording 14 kills in a loss at Duke, and collecting 44 kills during three matches - vs. Marshall (13), vs. Tennessee (18), and at North Carolina (13) - en route to tournament MVP honors at the Carolina Classic.  Minch then led CSU to a conference-opening victory at UNLV on Sept. 24, recording 15 kills.  

Entering action this week, Minch has recorded double-figures kills in 14 of CSU’s 21 matches, including a season-high 20 kills vs. Northern Colorado on Sept. 30. 

Setting the pace
To start the 2009 season, Evan Sanders was charged with the daunting task of replacing two-time MWC Setter of the Year Ashley Fornstrom in the Rams’ lineup.  The sophomore setter from Lafayette, Colo., has not disappointed.  Sanders ranks second in the MWC, averaging 10.33 assists per set, and has amassed 744 total assists entering this week’s match vs. Wyoming.

During the Rams’ Sept. 24 conference opener at UNLV, Sanders was particularly impressive, as she recorded a then-career-high 41 assists, en route to her 10th consecutive match with 30-plus assists.  Sanders broke that Sept. 30, posting an eye-popping 61 assists in CSU’s five-set victory over in-state rival Northern Colorado.  Against Utah on Oct. 17, Sanders was key in the Rams’ victory, recording an impressive 47 assists in just three sets, an average of 15.67 assists per set. 

Sanders showed off another part of her game vs. New Mexico (Sept. 24) and TCU (Sept. 26).  After recording a career-best four kills in a 3-0 sweep of the Lobos, Sanders bested the mark in the Rams’ next match, putting away seven kills on .700 hitting.  To date, Sanders has notched 42 kills. 

She also ranks third on the team with 162 digs through 21 matches, and has recorded six matches with double-figure digs.

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 a team-best 305 digs on the season, leading the MWC at 4.24 digs per set, Batten has become the only active  player currently in the top 10 of the MWC career digs list, where she ranks third with 1,609 career digs. UNLV’s Jada Walker (2004-07) ranks first with 2,055 career digs. 

Entering this week’s match vs. Wyoming, Batten has recorded double-figures in digs in 18 consecutive matches, including four matches - Sept. 4 vs. Ohio State, Sept. 11 vs. Marshall, Oct. 17 vs. Utah, and Oct. 24 at New Mexico - in which she eclipsed 20 digs for the match.  Batten’s 24 digs vs. Utah also tied a CSU single-match record for most digs in a three-set match set by Kelli Barnes in 1993.

Full Nelson
Senior middle blocker Tessa Nelson is the Rams’ lone returning all-Mountain West player from last season. Nelson 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 this season ranks 30th, averaging 1.29 blocks per set.  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 Friday’s match vs. Wyoming with 475 career blocks, seven blocks away from tying Diane Saba (1983-87) for third on the Rams’ all-time list.  Angela Knopf (1998-01) ranks first with 630 blocks, followed by Mekana Barnes (2005-08) with 518. 

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 12 of the Rams’ 21 matches, and is averaging 1.14 digs per set.  Cranston has appeared in all but one match (Oct. 25 at New Mexico), showing off her all-around skill by averaging 0.41 kills, 0.52 assists, 1.55 digs and 0.29 blocks per set.

Junior class
Juniors Danielle Minch and Jacque Davisson have been a force to be reckoned with so far this season, and both were selected for Carolina Classic all-tournament team, with Minch earning MVP honors. Davisson was also named all-tournament team at Asics/Coors Classic (MVP) and Hilton Classic.  The third-year players rank 1-2 in kills for the Rams. Entering Friday’s match vs. Wyoming, Minch ranks first with 262 total kills and is second in the MWC with an average of 3.64 kills per set.  Davisson ranks ninth in the MWC, averaging 2.74 kills per set, making CSU the only school with two players ranked in the top nine in the conference.  

Recapping Week 1:  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.

Recapping Week 2:  The Hilton Classic
The Colorado State volleyball team racked up three victories, running its 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.

Recapping Week 3:  At Duke and the Carolina Classic
Colorado State headed to North Carolina for four matches in four days, Sept. 9-12, and came home with a 3-1 record and a tournament title.  The Rams opened the week with a disappointing loss against the Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium.  The Blue Devils stymied the Rams and snapped a four-match winning streak, capturing the 3-1 victory. 

Colorado State bounced back quickly, winning its final three matches of the week and capturing the 2009 Carolina Classic tournament title.  The Rams opened the tournament, hosted in Chapel Hill, N.C. by the UNC Tar Heels, with a sweep of previously undefeated Marshall.  CSU then toppled the Tennessee Lady Vols in four sets, thanks to 18 kills by junior outside hitter Danielle Minch.  CSU closed out the tournament by defeating the host Tar Heels 3-0. 

Three Rams earned all-tournament honors, led by Minch who was selected as the tournament MVP.  Junior outside hitter Jacque Davisson and senior libero Katelin Batten joined Minch on the all-tourney team.  It marked Davisson’s second all-tournament honor in as many weeks, after being named the MVP of the HIlton Classic, hosted by CSU Sept. 3-5.

Recapping Week 4:  at UNLV
The Colorado State volleyball team (8-3, 1-0 MWC) improved to 10-1 all-time in MWC openers and snapped a three-match losing streak in Las Vegas, sweeping the UNLV Rebels (1-7, 0-1 MWC) behind strong performances from junior outside hitter Danielle Minch and sophomore setter Evan Sanders.

Minch notched her seventh consecutive match with double-digit kills, putting away a match-high 15, while hitting .357 and recording a solo block to lead the Rams to the 3-0 victory.  

Sanders was a difference maker for the Rams, recording a career-high 41 assists, her 10th consecutive match with 30 or more assists, helping CSU’s hitters post a .299 hitting percentage, while defensively the Rams held UNLV to just .141 hitting.

Recapping Week 5:  New Mexico and TCU
The Colorado State volleyball team improved to 10-3 overall and 3-0 in the Mountain West Conference, earning three-set sweeps over MWC foes New Mexico (Sept. 24) and TCU (Sept. 26).  With the victories, the Rams ran their win streak to six consecutive matches overall, and six straight home matches, while moving into a tie with Utah at 3-0 in the MWC standings. 

Megan Plourde, a redshirt freshman from Somerset, Wis., led the Rams over the weekend.  Plourde recorded her first-career double-digit kills match in front of 2,135 fans vs. the Lobos, while notching five assisted blocks and recording a hitting percentage of .769, just outside of CSU’s all-time top-5 list.  She followed up that performance six kills and a match-high seven blocks to help the Rams to victory over TCU.  Overall in the two matches, Plourde recorded 16 kills on .517 hitting and averaged an impressive 2.0 blocks per set. 

Junior outside hitter Jacque Davisson led the Rams with 21 total kills, to go along with seven assisted blocks, 13 digs and a service ace. 

Sophomore setter Evan Sanders was also impressive, notching 63 assists in the two matches, while recorded back-to-back career highs for kills with four vs. New Mexico and seven vs. TCU.

Recapping Week 6:  vs. Northern Colorado and at Wyoming
The Colorado State volleyball team improved to 12-3 overall and 4-0 in the Mountain West Conference, and kept alive a number of impressive winning streaks with a pair of rivalry victories at home vs. Northern Colorado (Sept. 30) and on the road vs. Wyoming (Oct. 2). 

Colorado State began the week with a quick hiatus from its MWC schedule, taking down the Bears in five sets in front of 1,687 fans at Moby Arena, running its home winning streak to seven matches, and marking the team’s eighth consecutive victory over UNC. 

The Rams then headed to nearby Laramie, Wyo., where, despite stiff opposition from the Cowgirls in Sets 1 and 3, the Rams were able to record their fourth consecutive sweep of an MWC opponent, and run the team’s overall winning streak to eight matches. 

Four Rams finished the week with at least 20 kills and a .250 hitting percentage, led by junior OH Danielle Minch who notched a career-high 20 kills vs. UNC and added 15 more vs. UW, while hitting .292.  Fellow junior Jacque Davisson drove home 23 total kills on .250 hitting, and freshman Megan Plourde and sophomore Katelyn Steffan chipped in with 22 and 20 kills, respectively.  Plourde led the group with a hitting efficiency of .452.  Steffan hit .250.  Plourde was also a force on the block for the Rams, notching a team-high 10 total blocks (one solo) on the weekend. 

Sophomore setter Evan Sanders also posted impressive numbers for the week, recording 96 total assists (12.0 per set), including a career-high 61 assists vs. the Bears.  Sanders ranked second to Plourde, recording seven blocks, and finished just behind senior libero Katelin Batten, averaging 2.25 digs per set.  Batten was solid as ever, recording 4.0 digs per set in the two matches. 

Recapping Week 7:  at San Diego State and at Air Force
The Colorado State volleyball team improved to 14-3 overall and 6-0 in the Mountain West Conference, and kept alive a number of impressive winning streaks with a pair of road victories at San Diego State (Oct. 8) and at Air Force (Oct. 10). 

The Rams began the week with a stiff road test against the San Diego State Aztecs, coming away with a 3-1 victory at SDSU’s Peterson Gym.  After dropping the opening set, 25-20, the team’s first set lost vs. an MWC opponent this season, the Rams stormed back to win the next three sets by scores of 25-21, 25-23 and 25-19, to pick up the victory. 

Three Rams posted double-digits kills in the match, led by junior outside hitter Danielle Minch, who recorded 17.  But it was freshman Megan Plourde who came up the biggest for the Rams, notching 11 kills, including three in the deciding set, on .688 hitting (11-0-16) to carry CSU to victory.  Plourde also posted a match-high six blocks (one solo) for the Rams, who outblocked the Aztecs by a margin of 10-7.

The Rams then headed to Colorado Springs, Colo., to face off against the Air Force.  CSU defeated the Falcons, 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-20), at Clune Arena to remain undefeated in MWC play.  The win, coupled with a Utah loss vs. New Mexico, gave the Rams sole possession of first place in the MWC standings. 

Nelson, a senior middle blocker, paced the Rams with a season-high 10 kills on .500 hitting, and came up big defensively with a match-high eight total blocks (one solo), to lead the Rams past Air Force. 

With the victories, CSU extended its overall winning streak to 10 matches.  The wins also gave CSU a seven-match winning streak away from Moby Arena.

Recapping Week 8:  BYU and Utah
Facing, perhaps, their toughest challenge to date in the MWC, the Colorado State volleyball team rose to the occasion, and picked up a pair of impressive three-set sweeps over BYU and Utah.  With the victories, the Rams  improved to 16-3 overall and 8-0 in the Mountain West Conference, while extending the team’s overall winning streak to 12 consecutive matches.  CSU has also runs its home court winning streak to nine matches.

Colorado State got off to a very quick start vs. the Cougars, staking to a 10-2 advantage early in the first set and never looking back.  Senior middle blocker Tessa Nelson played an outstanding match for the Rams.  She notched match highs with 10 kills, on .667 hitting (10-0-15), and six blocks, to go along with a pair of service aces to lead the Rams to the win.   Junior outside hitters Danielle Minch and Jacque Davisson finished with nine and eight kills, respectively, while sophomore opposite hitter Katelyn Steffan added seven kills.  Sophomore setter Evan Sanders recorded 35 assists in the match, and was second to Nelson with three blocks for the Rams.  CSU outblocked the Cougars, who entered the match fifth nationally, by a 9.0-4.0 margin.

Against Utah, it was Minch who took over the match, putting together what Head Coach Tom Hilbert called “the best match of her career.”  Minch notched a match-high 19 kills, including nine in the opening set, to lead the Rams to a sweep and a two-match lead in the MWC standings.  Minch finished the match, hitting .469, while adding two blocks for CSU.  Nelson added 11 kills and three blocks.  In addition to Minch and Nelson, four other Rams recorded at least four kills:  Davisson (9), sophomore opposite hitter Katelyn Steffan (6), freshman middle blocker Megan Plourde (5), and Sanders (4).  The Rams’ balanced attack also featured four players - Minch, Nelson, Steffan, Plourde and Sanders - who hit .400 or better in the match. 

Special promotions
The Rams willl be celebrating Halloween with their fans a day early this year.  Fans in Halloween costumes will receive free admission to Friday’s match, which is slated to begin at 7 p.m. 

A constume contest will be held during intermission between the second and third sets.  Kids will also have the opportunity to trick-or-treat with the CSU team following the match.   

Ticket 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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