Nov 302003
 
Authors: Stephanie Lindberg

The Rams (28-4) won the Mountain West Conference Tournament on

Sat. Nov. 22 with a win over second-seeded University of Utah

(20-8). They also set a record for wins. After winning their 21st

consecutive game against Long Beach State University

(17-9) on Nov. 25, the Rams broke the record of 20 straight wins

set in 2001.

“This has been one of the greatest weeks since I’ve been here,”

said head coach Tom Hilbert, this year’s MWC coach of the year.

“I’m really proud of our team and I’m proud of our program. It’s an

exciting time for CSU volleyball.”

The Rams beat a second-half surging Utah team in four games

(30-26, 23-30, 30-20, 30-28) to win the conference tournament in

San Diego, Calif., and preserve their perfect conference

record.

They became the first one-seeded team in MWC history to win the

tournament.

Sophomore outside hitter Tess Rogers, who was named the

tournament MVP, had a big match for the Rams with 21 kills and two

service aces. Junior Bri Frech scored the winning point with a

service ace, her second of the match. Four Rams hit double figures

in digs and kills. Setter Melissa Courtney, named co-MWC Player of

the Year, hit a team-best .636 with seven kills and 53 assists.

The Utes also had four players with double digit kills and hit

.297 as a team. Junior Lyndsey Henderson had 18 kills. Senior

libero Jackie Morrill had 20 digs for the Utes.

It was a great match by two great teams,” Utah head coach Beth

Launiere said. “We laid it on the floor. I have to congratulate

CSU. I don’t think there’s anything else we could have done.”

CSU’s match against LBSU on Nov. 25 was over in three games and

for the second straight time, a service ace was the deciding factor

this time by junior middle blocker Katie Jo Shirley.

Shirley recorded 14 kills and hit a match-high .619 with only

one error on the night. Rogers had 11 kills and sophomore

right-side hitter Dre Downs had 12. Frech and Downs both had four

blocks.

“We started out strong and blocked really well,” Hilbert said.

“Knew we had to get a lot of balls to Dre and she came through big

for us. LBSU is a great defensive team and they provide a lot of

challenges to you because of that and it took a little while for us

to adjust to.”

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