Sep 182003
 
Authors: Stephanie Lindberg

This weekend the CSU women’s volleyball team continues an eight

game road trip, heading to the Diet Coke Classic in Minneapolis,

Minn.

The Rams (7-3) face No. 22 Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-5) Friday

night and are hoping to get their first win this season against a

ranked team.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (9-1) and University of North

Carolina at Charlotte (5-5) play CSU on Saturday.

The Rams have compiled a 2-1 record in each of the three

tournaments they have played in this season – their three loses

have all been to ranked teams.

“We compete with the ranked teams but I’d like to see us beat

them,” said sophomore outside hitter Tess Rogers.

“We need to win a match where we’re stretched a little,” head

coach Tom Hilbert said. “We’d like to win this tournament 3-0 and I

think it’s possible. That would be a big boom for us.”

After losing their first four matches, Minnesota seems to have

rebounded. The Golden Gophers are coming off a four-game win

against No. 6 Northern Iowa on Wednesday. Four of the team’s five

loses came against top 20 teams.

Junior outside hitter Trisha Bratford is averaging 4.15 kills

per game and senior Cassie Busse is hitting a team best .269 and

has recorded 18 service aces on the season.

Another task for the Rams is facing two unranked teams they

don’t know much about.

“(UW-Milwaukee and NC-Charlotte) may not be ranked but I think

they’re playing well,” Rogers said. “Our schedule seems tougher

this year. We get to see new names and new faces.”

Leading UW-Milwaukee is senior setter Lindsey Spoden, who has

been named the Horizon League Player of the Week twice this season.

Spoden, who had 10 kills, 15 digs and 62 assists against Sacramento

State last Saturday, became the first Panther to collect a

triple-double since 1996.

Junior outside hitter Karen Fruit is averaging 4.62 kills and

leads the team in digs as well with 3.35 per game.

The NC-Charlotte 49ers bring sophomore outside hitter Abbey

Szlanfucht who leads the team with 3.76 kills per game. Junior

setter Molly McDonald has 19 service aces on the season – .45 per

game.

In CSU’s loss to No. 12 Kansas State, the Rams hitters performed

well. Junior Becky Sarauer led the team with 16 kills. Rogers and

Katie Jo Shirley each had 13.

Hilbert hopes the team remains calm on the road, like they did

in last weekend’s tournament.

“You hope that your team figures out how to relax themselves,”

Hilbert said. “Being in a strange environment causes nervousness.

Skills don’t flow as easily.”

 

 

 

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