Match notes: CSU volleyball hosts rival Wyoming on Friday
Oct. 28, 2009
Match 22 | Colorado State vs. Wyoming
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.
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A quick look at the Rams
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
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.
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
Rams vs. the MWC
Rams in the RPI
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
Home away from home
As easy as 1-2-3
Rams in the rankings
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
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.
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
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
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?
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.
Freshmen make debuts
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
Recapping Week 1: The Asics/Coors Classic
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
Recapping Week 3: At Duke and the Carolina Classic
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
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
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
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 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
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.
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.
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.