The Rams spiking, hitting and blocking machines were in full
force as the No. 11 CSU women’s volleyball team finished up
preseason tournament play by winning the University Park Classic
over the weekend. The Rams picked up wins against No. 18 Pepperdine
(2-4) on Friday and Southern Mississippi (3-4) on Saturday
The Rams won their seventh straight match to advance to 7-1 on
Backed by a crowd of 1,810 on Friday night and a FOX Sports
Rocky Mountain television audience, the Rams dominated the
Pepperdine Waves, taking the match in four games 30-16, 30-28,
31-33 and 30-21. The Waves had a .000 hitting percentage in the
first game and looked rusty, but they put up a fight in games two
and three, winning the third and forcing a game four.
Four Rams had double figures in kills in the match and junior
outside hitter Tess Rogers tied a season high with 17 kills. In her
first start of the season, junior outside hitter Casey Bauer looked
impressive with 11 kills and six digs. The Waves had five players
with double kills, but the team hurt itself with errors. The Waves
had 14 service errors and 35 hitting errors to pull their hitting
percentage down to .159.
The crowd was loud and boisterous throughout the match and the
Rams felt it.
“It was fun to have the crowd and the students behind us,” said
junior right side hitter Dre Downs, who hit .591 on the night with
Despite the third game loss, the team didn’t lose focus.
“Even though we lost that third game, we came in with confidence
(in game four),” said senior setter Melissa Courtney.
After Ohio beat Pepperdine in four games, the Rams faced
Southern Miss on Saturday afternoon.
The Rams downed the Golden Eagles in three games 30-19, 30-28
and 30-20 to win the tournament undefeated.
The Golden Eagles couldn’t get a consistent hitting game
together finishing the match led by freshman Leslie VanDuinen with
nine kills. As a team, the Eagles hit only .068.
The Rams showed considerable depth by playing several players
that had not seen much time on the court. Redshirt freshman outside
hitter Tonya Mokelki earned accolades from Courtney for her play.
Sophomore outside hitter/setter Katherine Whitney pulled out 10
digs to match sophomore libero Kristen Karlik.
“I though Mok (Mokelki) did a good job,” Courtney said.
While fatigue was a bit of a factor, the Rams overcame that
“I was tired,” Courtney said. “After game one I had to go get
something to eat. That’s what we stayed this summer and conditioned
Bauer contributed 12 kills, tying a season high with Courtney,
who was named the MVP of the tournament.
“(It was from) getting good sets,” Bauer said.
The Rams also got a good performance from senior middle backer
Bri Frech, who had career highs in kills with 15 and three solo
blocks. Frech had only one hitting error on the night.
“Every time we were struggling today Bri Frech got us out of
it,” said head coach Tom Hilbert. “I like it when she feels that
While Hilbert said he was proud of the team, he knows there is
room for improvement as the team heads into conference play.
“I’d like to be a better team before we play Utah and BYU,”
The Rams play Air Force at 7 p.m. on Friday.