Oct 312004
 
Authors: Stephanie Lindberg

Behind excellent serving and blocking, the CSU women’s

volleyball team beat San Diego and UNLV, extending its winning

streak to six matches.

The No. 9 Rams (19-2, 10-1 Mountain West Conference) recorded a

season high 11 service aces and 13 blocks on Friday night against

the Aztecs (3-19, 3-6 MWC). Saturday they countered the UNLV Rebels

(12-8, 6-4 MWC) with nine blocks and a .436 hitting percentage.

The Aztecs fell behind on the scoreboard fast with the Rams

rattling off five unanswered points. Senior outside hitter Kara

Moriarty, who led the Aztecs with 3.56 kills per game, went down

with an ankle injury with the score at 5-1 and didn’t return to the

match.

“Moriarty is a great player and it was definitely our goal to

shut her down,” said CSU senior setter Melissa Courtney. “Moriarty

does put up good blocks and is, I think, their best hitter.”

The only senior on the team, Moriarty was a big loss to the

Aztecs, who seemed hard-pressed to find a rhythm. They hit -.029,

had just two blocks and are the only opponent this year that didn’t

record a service ace against the Rams.

Junior outside hitters Ashley Bowker and Melissa Stapley both

had seven kills to lead the Aztecs while sophomore right-side

hitter Audra Dent was silenced to just four kills. Freshman setter

Kristen Castillo had 17 assists.

“Our goals tonight were to stop Moriarty and (Audra) Dent,” said

CSU head coach Tom Hilbert. “Bowker did a good job on us and hurt

us a little bit.”

The energy coming from the Rams on the court was noticed by the

crowd of 1,304 at Moby Arena. Loud cheers could be heard when a big

block or kill was made.

“We made it a goal to have fun out there and get excited,”

Courtney said. ” I think we were going to get excited out there no

matter what.”

CSU pulled out in three quick games 30-18, 30-9, 30-20. It was

the first time this season that the Rams held an opponent under 10

points.

The fun continued in game three when the Rams switched around

the lineup as senior defensive specialist Kimi Foytich replaced

sophomore Kristen Karlik at libero. Karlik recorded her first kills

since last season when the Rams faced Bradley. Her three kills were

a career high.

“It was very strange, but it felt good,” Karlik said.

Sophomore setter/outside hitter Katherine Whitney replaced

Courtney at setter and hit some impressive kills of her own.

Juniors outside hitter Tess Rogers and right-side hitter Dre

Downs outshined the seniors with 11 kills. Senior middle blocker

Katie Jo Shirley-Cahoon had nine kills and also recorded her 300th

block of her career. Courtney had a career and season high with six

service aces.

Saturday night against UNLV the energy continued for the Rams.

While the Rebels scored the first point off a Downs hitting error,

the Rams recorded five points and ended the match in three games

30-18, 30-22 and 30-18.

The Rebels hit better than the Aztecs (.139), but CSU recorded

18 more kills. Freshman outside hitter Brittani Lumsden led the

Rebels with nine kills and three service aces while senior setter

Nicki King had 24 assists. Sophomore middle blocker Lauren

Miramontes and freshman outside hitter Maria Aladjova both had

eight kills.

“I think we played a lot better tonight,” Rogers said. “We

stayed in longer rallies and stayed focused.”

The Rams matched their six service errors with six aces and

Rogers felt the good serves helped disrupt the Rebels’ offense.

“I also thought our serving disrupted them a lot more,” Rogers

said.

The match marked Shirley-Cahoon’s ninth double-double of her

career and also the return of senior outside hitter Becky Sarauer,

who had missed six matches due to a sprained ankle. Sarauer

recorded three kills and needs just 20 more for the 1,000th of her

career.

“It was great to have Becky back on the court and playing with

us,” Shirley-Cahoon said.

The Rams were led by Rogers who had 14 kills and just two

hitting errors. Shirley-Cahoon had 10 kills, 11 digs and three

service aces. Senior middle blocker Bri Frech had 11 kills, one

solo block and four assists.

“In some ways this might have been the most complete match we’ve

played all year,” Hilbert said. “This was a really, really good

effort and was very low error. We executed blocking exactly the way

we wanted to and we out-dug UNLV and they were way below their

season average in digs.”

There were several long rallies that ended in points for CSU,

though it could have been easy for the point to swing UNLV’s way.

The crowd of 1,226 grew louder as each rally escalated.

“I expected a lot more long rallies,” Hilbert said. “They (UNLV)

weren’t able to get into a groove. We did a really good job on

Aladjova, but she still hurt us. We did make her take two or three

swings in a rally.”

Hilbert said he hopes the intensity the Rams showed this weekend

continues when the team hits the road Friday with a match in

Wyoming at 7 p.m. and on Sunday in a non-conference match against

No. 4 Nebraska at 4 p.m.

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