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Match notes: No. 14 CSU visits SDSU Saturday

Oct. 29, 2010

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Match 22 | San Diego State
Oct. 30, 2010 | Fort Collins, Colo. | Peterson Gym (3,668)
• Live Stats: Click Here
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• Streaming video:  Click Here

No. 14 CSU visits SDSU Saturday
The 14th-ranked CSU volleyball team opens the second half of Mountain West Conference play this weekend, traveling to San Diego, Calif., to face off against the San Diego State Aztecs. 

Saturday’s match vs. SDSU is the Rams’ first road contest since Oct. 9 (at UNLV).  First serve between the Rams and the Aztecs is slated for 8 p.m. MT from SDSU’s Peterson Gym.  Streaming video will be available for the match via GoAztecs.com. 

The Rams enter action this weekend with an overall record of 19-2 (8-0 MWC), and are riding a season-best 10-match winning streak.  The team looks to remain unbeaten in MWC action, where they have built a three-match lead in the standings over second-place New Mexico and Utah. 

Head Coach Tom Hilbert enters Saturday’s match looking for his 352nd career victory at Colorado State, which would tie him for the most wins by a CSU head coach with legendary hoops mentor Jim “J.J.” Williams. 

Rams on the radio
All home matches and the road contests at Wyoming (Nov. 18), will be broadcast live in the Fort Collins area on KCSU 90.5 FM.  Andy Boshoven (play-by-play) and Brandon Grose (color) will call all the action from courtside.  Fans outside the normal listening area can access streaming audio for broadcast matches 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 (search: Colorado State University Volleyball), giving fans unprecedented access to CSU volleyball.     

A quick look at the Rams
Colorado State returned 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 entering 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 San Diego State
San Diego State enters Saturday’s matchup with a 5-4 mark in the Mountain West Conference, sitting in fourth place in the league standings.  After losing to Air Force last week, the Aztecs have bounced back to win three straight matches, including a non-conference victory over UC Riverside (3-1), and MWC victories over UNLV (3-0) and Wyoming (3-1). 

The Aztecs took the Rams to five sets in their first matchup of the season on Sept. 30 at Moby Arena.  Andrea Hannasch led the Aztecs with 14 kills and five blocks in the match.  But 16 kills from Danielle Minch and 14 kills by Jacque Davisson helped propel the Rams to the victory. 

Head Coach Deitre Collins-Parker is in her second season with the Aztecs, after coaching for five seasons at Cornel University. She currently holds 26-26 record, with a 202-232 career record. 

CSU holds the all-time series advantage, 28-14, including 17 consecutive victories.

Hilbert closing in on all-time mark
Colorado State volleyball Head Coach Tom Hilbert is closing in on yet another milestone in his accomplished coaching career. 

Having already become the school’s all-time leader in career wins by a volleyball coach, Hilbert is now approaching one of the most hallowed marks in the history of Colorado State University athletics.

Hilbert enters play this week with 351 career victories at Colorado State and needs just two victories to become the all-time winningest head coach at CSU, surpassing the mark currently held by legendary basketball coach Jim Williams.   

Williams led CSU’s men’s basketball team during its most prosperous era, in which he posted a career record of 352-293 in 26 seasons. 

It would mark the third major milestone in as many years for Hilbert, who surpassed Rich Feller as CSU volleyball’s all-time wins leader in 2008 and last season reached the 500-win mark in just his 22nd year overall as a head coach.

Hilbert entered the 2010 season ranked 11th on the NCAA’s active coaching list with a career winning percentage of .763. 

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 148-24 (.860) in Mountain West Conference matches, including an impressive 80-6 (.932) mark at Moby Arena vs. the MWC, and a 68-18 (.791) record on the road in league action.  The team has averaged nearly 13 conference victories per season, and closed the 2009 season with 14 more victories than the next closest program, Utah (126-38). 

On a hot streak
The 2010 CSU Rams are on pace to finish the season with one of the most impressive records in school history.  Having suffered just two losses so far this season, the Rams enter action this week riding a 10-match winning streak, which began Sept. 24 at BYU.  This marks the fourth time in the last five seasons that CSU has put together winning streaks of at least 10 matches, and the 11th time under Head Coach Tom Hilbert. The Rams’ longest winning streak under Hilbert was a 23-match stretch between Sept. 20 and Dec. 6, 2003, which carried CSU all the way to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. 

# Year Start Opponent End Opponent
23 2003 Sept. 20 vs. 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)


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, 3-0) 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)
10 2010 Sept. 24 at BYU (W, 3-2) CURRENT  

Rams earn MWC Player of the Week honors
Sophomore MB Megan Plourde was recognized Sept. 27 as the MWC Co-Player of the Week after leading CSU to conference opening wins at BYU and Utah.  She began MWC action with a 16-kill, 11-block effort against BYU, marking a career high for total blocks in a match.  Plourde followed that up with her fourth consecutive double-digit kills match when she tallied 10 kills on an impressive .562 attack percentage against the Utes.  She also led the Rams with seven total blocks in that match. For the week, Plourde averaged 3.25 kills, 2.25 blocks and 4.38 points per set, while hitting .426 (26-6-47) over eight sets.  She also had one dig. Plourde shared the honor with San Diego State’s Andrea Hannasch. 

Senior OH Danielle Minch earned her second-career MWC Player of the Week nod on Monday.  Minch led the Rams to MWC over TCU and New Mexico, returning from an ankle injury, to record a season-high 20 kills and had five blocks against the Horned Frogs.  The last kill of the match was the 1,000th of her career as a Ram.  Minch followed up with a team-high 10-kill, .375 hitting performance against New Mexico on Saturday. For the week, Minch averaged 3.75 kills, 0.75 blocks and 4.25 points per set, while hitting .288 (30-13-59) over eight sets.  She also had two digs.

Out with the old, in with the new
The Rams’ Sept. 30 home match vs. San Diego State was the final event at Moby Arena for the old scoreboard, with the new state-of-the-art videoboard was unveiled Oct. 14  when the Rams hosted the TCU Horned Frogs.  The $1 million upgrade, which includes a four-sided, center-hung video scoreboard, new stats boards at each endzone, and new scoreboards on the concourse level of Moby Arena, replaced the old system which was installed in 1995. 

All-tournament honors
Colorado State’s duo of Jacque Davisson and Megan Plourde earned all-tournament honors following the Rams’ 2-1 showing at the University of Florida’s Campus USA Credit Union Invitational, Sept. 3-4.  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 then-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.   

Plourde followed up that performance with another all-tourney nod - along with teammates Evan Sanders and Danielle Minch - at CSU’s Rams Volleyball Classic presented Poudre Valley Health System, Sept. 10-11.  

Minch was tabbed the tournament MVP, leading the Rams with double-digit kills in each match, including a personal season-high 13 kills vs. Northeastern.  Overall, Minch hit .304 (35-14-69) in three matches and recorded eight block assists and two service aces.  Plourde led all players with a .605 (28-2-43) hitting percentage over the weekend.  She also notched a tourney-leading 16 total blocks.  Minch and Plourde ranked 1-2 among all players at the tournament in points per set, at 4.56 and 4.06, respectively.  Sanders recorded a tourney-leading 95 assists (10.56 per set), helping CSU to a team hitting percentage of .314 in the three matches, including a season-best .400 team hitting percentage vs. Illinois State.   

Rams vs. ranked opponents under Hilbert
Colorado State is 36-42 against nationally ranked opponents under Head Coach Tom Hilbert.  Since 2007, when CSU’s current crop of seniors first stepped on campus, the Rams have posted a record of 5-4 in regular-season matchups against top-25 opponents, including CSU’s losses  at then-No. 6 Florida on Sept. 4 and vs. No. 24 Long Beach State on Sept. 17. 

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 12-1 in 2010. 

Since Tom Hilbert’s arrival in Fort Collins in 1997, the Rams have hosted 34 nationally ranked opponents, coming away with victories in 23 of those contests.  Prior to the Rams’ Sept. 17 loss to No. 24 Long Beach State, CSU had defeated five consecutive ranked opponents at Moby Arena dating back to a 3-0 victory over No. 13 Ohio State on Aug. 30, 2007.  During that stretch, the Rams also hosted and defeated 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). 

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 week ranked No. 12 nationally in attendance, averaging 2,291 fans per match through the team’s first 11 home matches of the season. 
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

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.  The Rams improved to No. 14 in the Week 3 poll, after a 3-0 showing at the Rams Volleyball Classic, Sept. 10-11.  CSU enters action this week ranked No. 14, moving up on spot in each of the past four weeks and coming off of wins over Denver (3-0) and Wyoming (3-0) last week.  The team has now been ranked in the AVCA poll for 14 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. 

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 as 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. 

Up next
Colorado State returns to Moby Arena for a pair of matches next week.  First the team takes on UNLV, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m., followed by a Nov. 6 matchup vs. Air Force at 1 p.m. 

Saturday’s match vs. Air Force is a Pepsi 4-Pack match.  Fans can get four tickets, four hot dogs and four sodas for just $20. 



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