Boarder War: Round 1

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Sep 292005
 
Authors: Paul Baker

The enemy has come to Moby.

The Rams will host the University of Wyoming Cowgirls in the Border War tonight, and like the ones before them – it's personal.

The Rams (8-3) are coming into the contest riding a seven-game winning streak after beating San Diego State and UNLV on the road last week to start conference play.

Wyoming is 5-6 on the season and currently on a four-game losing streak. A young team with only two juniors and no seniors, the Cowgirls are led by 2004 Co-Freshman Player of the Year Rachel Smith, who is averaging 3.51 kills per game so far this season.

Freshman libero Carissa Lee is averaging 4.26 digs per game, second in the league, while junior middle blocker Andrea Seele leads the team with 0.83 blocks per game.

"They have three players that are pretty good," Head Coach Tom Hilbert said.

"One of them is a lefty and we haven't faced someone like that before, so it's hard to prepare for that."

The Cowgirls are coached by Pat Stangle, who led them to an 18-20 overall record in his second season, while going 6-10 in Mountain West Conference games.

"They are an interesting team to play," Hilbert said. "They have a fast offense, and if they pass well, they will be tough to play."

Right now, the Rams are led by senior outside hitter Casey Bauer. Bauer was recently awarded the MWC Player of the Week for her performance last weekend. She recorded career highs in kills, 26, and digs, 16, in the four-set victory over UNLV last Saturday.

"I was excited to get it, but I wasn't expecting it," Bauer said about receiving her first career Player of the Week.

"She has gotten more comfortable on the court this year and has become a nice leader for our team," Hilbert said. "She has made the most difference out of any player on our team so far."

Alongside Bauer are fellow seniors Tess Rogers, averaging 3.79 kills per game, and middle blocker Dre Downs, leading the team in blocks with 1.55 per game.

CSU and Wyoming have met for 57 previous occasions. The Rams hold a 38-19 lead in the overall series. The Rams are 19-6 in Moby, and have won the last 14 matches against the Cowgirls – eight being in Fort Collins.

"We have a goal every year of going undefeated at Moby," Bauer said. "So this is a big match for us in terms of achieving this goal."

So far the Rams are up for the challenge, as they are 5-0 this season in Moby.

"It's one more stepping stone to improve for this team," sophomore Tonya

Mokelki said. "We need to come out and do our part, if we do that we'll be ok. If we don't, then it will be a close match."

CSU will take the court at 7 p.m. this evening in this season's first round of the Border War.

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