Sep 292002
Authors: Lee Miller

The injury bug was kind enough to leave Ram volleyball alone over the weekend, and the Rams were able to rack up two wins to take second place in the University of San Diego Tournament.

Senior middle blocker Michelle Knox and sophomore setter Melissa Courtney, both of whom were injured last weekend, were able to play in all three matches, and freshman outside hitter Tess Rogers returned for the Rams’ two Saturday matches.

Friday’s match against Columbia, which CSU swept 30-23, 30-21, 30-16, lasted only one hour and seven minutes, the shortest match for the Rams this season.

The Rams came out a little rusty in the first game, hitting only .250 and having trouble in the service game. At one point, they committed four consecutive service errors and the Lions pulled within one point.

But after a timeout, the Rams were able to roll and close out the game.

“I thought we had a lot of unforced errors at the beginning of the match, but we really stepped up and played great after the first game,” CSU coach Tom Hilbert said.

The Rams dominated the next two games, getting a career night from outside hitter Becky Sarauer with 16 kills and five service aces. Opposite side hitter Andreya Downs added 11 kills and also had five aces.

Melissa Courtney’s return was greatly appreciated, as she added 39 assists and helped out with four blocks.

“This was a good win for us,” Hilbert said. “It was great to have both Melissa and Michelle back on the floor, and Becky had a breakout match for us tonight. This was definitely the best serving match of her career and she hit great.”

Columbia middle blocker Kathy Lavold was the only Lion with double figures in kills (10). The Lions only had two service aces and one block in the entire match.

On Saturday morning the Rams picked up another three-game win against Robert Morris, 30-19, 30-17, 30-23.

Rogers, recovered from the concussion she suffered last weekend, immediately made her presence known. Rogers led the Rams with 15 kills and hit .448.

Michelle Knox was sharp as well. She put up 14 kills and added 11 digs for a double-double, and also led the team with three blocks.

The Rams again allowed only one player to get kills in double figures; Robert Morris’ Morgan Bell had 10 kills and led her team with 12 digs.

“I thought we played great (Saturday) morning,” Hilbert said. “We had a well-balanced attack and played with a lot of intensity throughout. Tess (Rogers) had a fabulous match and we were excited to have her back on the floor and healthy after last weekend.”

CSU was not able to come away from San Diego unbeaten, though. San Diego took the championship in a highly competitive 30-27, 29-31, 25-30, 23-30 win, avenging a loss to the Rams last season.

The Rams played very impressive through the first two games, but were not able to contain San Diego’s Noel Frohman, whose 24 kills was the best among all players. She completed a double-double with 12 digs.

San Diego also got a double-double from outside hitter Devon Forster, who finished with 14 kills and 22 digs.

Rogers had another solid match, her 17 kills once again leading the Rams. Knox added 12 kills and led the team with eight blocks, while sophomore libero Lindsey Kerr put up a career-high 23 digs in the losing effort.

“The first two games we played great,” Hilbert said. “That was as good as volleyball as we’ve played all year. San Diego stepped up its defense, which frustrated us and we became very one-dimensional. We still need to play well at the end of games and aren’t quite doing that. However, we showed glimpses of a great volleyball team (Saturday).”

-Edited by Jon Ackerman and Josh Hardin

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