Volleyball team bounced from NCAA tourney

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Nov 302006
 
Authors: Jeff Dillon

For those who didn’t know, it would have been hard to tell whether Thursday’s first-round NCAA tournament match between CSU and the sixth-seeded Washington Huskies was being played in Moby Arena or Coors Events Center in Boulder.

It also would have been tough to tell which team was the defending national champion and which team was the underdog.

CSU battled hard in front of a heavily partisan Ram crowd, but was unable to top the Huskies, falling 26-30, 30-26, 30-24, 30-22.

Head coach Tom Hilbert said his team played well but couldn’t muster the all-around game to pull off the upset.

“We didn’t have poise through the duration of games,” he said. “We played them well but we didn’t have the poise against a team of that quality, gave up too many point runs and that was the difference.”

The Rams were led by sophomore outside hitter Jaime Strauss who finished with 22 kills and 18 digs. CSU out-dug the Huskies 80-77 on the night.

“I thought our defense was really good,” Strauss said. “I thought our defense stuck with theirs or was even a little better than theirs tonight.”

Washington head coach Jim McLaughlin agreed with Strauss’ assessment, saying that this year’s CSU squad was far better defensively than a team the Huskies swept last year in the NCAA second round.

“No one out-digs us and they did,” he said. “This match was the one I was most worried about, even more than (top-seed) Nebraska. It’s tough to come here and play them. This was the best CSU team we’ve played so far.”

CSU kept the score tight throughout the first half of the starting game. Neither team led by more than one point until the Rams took an 8-6 lead on a block.

The Rams never trailed after that point, riding momentum to a 29-23 lead. Washington wouldn’t go down without a fight, taking the next three points to make it 29-26. But the Rams finished off the champs on a kill from sophomore middle blocker Mekana Barnes to win the opening game 30-26.

Junior Stevie Mussie posted 8 kills for the Huskies and Barnes led the Rams with six kills on .600 hitting in the opening game.

Washington, however, responded quickly with a 7-0 start to the next game. CSU, down 16-6 later in the game, made a seven point run, clearly stealing back the momentum.

The Huskies showed why they were ranked third in the country, pulling away late for a 30-26 win of their own thanks to nine kills from junior Pac-10 player of the year Christal Morrison.

Game three looked like more of the same early, as Washington jumped out to a 6-3 lead. But the Rams stayed alive and tied the game at 20.

At 24-22, the Rams appeared to win the point to make it a one-point contest, but the official overturned the original call and called a net violation on CSU, giving Washington a 25-22 lead.

From that point on, Washington benefited from several CSU mistakes and Mussie kills in a 30-24 win.

With their season on the line, CSU fought back from an early 5-1 deficit in game four to tie the score at nine points on a kill from Whitney. The teams traded points until the Rams took an 11-10 lead and clearly captured the momentum.

The Huskies evened the score at 17 on a kill from Mussie, took the lead on the following point, and never trailed again. Washington had 21 blocks in the 30-22 game five win.

“We did panic a little bit,” Barnes said of Washington’s control late in the match. “It showed because they ran points on us. We also gave them too many errors in key situations.”

CSU finishes the season at 20-10 overall, which is the 12th consecutive 20-win season for the Rams.

Hilbert was proud of his team’s close to the season, and said he looks forward to next year. The Rams will lose senior outside hitter Katherine Whitney as well as defensive specialist Lindsey Hillegass.

“I think we showed tonight that we certainly deserve to be in the NCAA tournament,” he said. “We’ve got a good group of kids and a nice base for the future. Katherine Whitney is one of the best smaller players in the United States.

“What we need to take from this is that we played Washington to 20-20. We’ve got to learn to play Washington or a team of that caliber to 30-30.”

Volleyball beat writer Jeff Dillon can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Rams Welcome Wildcats, Huggins, to Moby Saturday

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Nov 302006
 
Authors: Matthew Pucak

Moby Arena has already been graced by celebrity guests this year, as Caremelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, and George Karl of the Denver Nuggets stopped by to watch when the Rams hosted Boise Sate, but on Saturday another big name comes to town when coach Bob Huggins and the Kansas State Wildcats of the Big XII conference come into Fort Collins.

The game is set for 3:05 p.m. in Moby Arena Saturday, and the Rams are clearly excited for this game, and hope to see the newly named “Green Machine” cheering section out in full force, according to Rams forward Jason Smith.

“Saturday should be a great game, and I’d love to see the student section out there cheering and supporting us,” said Smith, a junior who was one of ten players in the nation selected to the preseason Playboy All-American team.

The Wildcats come into the contest with a 4-2 record, after being defeated 78-48 at California Wednesday night, but according to Rams head coach Dale Layer, they are one of the most talented teams the Rams will see this year.

“They are an unbelievably athletic team, coached by a Hall of Fame type coach (in Huggins). They bring toughness and defensive pressure that we have not yet seen,” he said after practice Thursday.

Huggins is in his first season as Kansas State head coach, but he is a household name for college basketball fans, especially as the coach of Cincinnati and owing to the fact he has won over 500 games and made 15 NCAA tournament appearances.

The Wildcats have three players averaging double figures in scoring, and are led by seniors Lance Harris, who averages 13.3 points a game, and Cartier Martin who scores 13.2 points a game.

While containing those two is important, Layer added that the Rams also have to hold Kansas State from getting offensive rebounds.

“They are the number two team in the nation on the offensive boards, so we have to be extremely tough to control the glass.”

Players and coaches both said it was the biggest non-conference home game of the year for the Rams, who are come into the game with a 5-2 record on the season and are riding a three-game winning streak after defeating the Denver Pioneers Wednesday night, 81-73, for their first road win of the season.

Jason Smith led the Rams with 24 points and 9 rebounds, despite fouling out with 5:04 remaining in the game, as the Rams rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit to win.

Junior college transfer Tim Denson went for a career high with 18 points, and Tyler Smith chipped in 14 points for the Rams, while Denver was carried by Deshawn Walker, who drilled 8 3-pointers while scoring 30 points.

Tickets to the game are free, and can be obtained by bringing a CSU student ID to Moby Arena, and the game will be televised on The MTN.

Matthew Pucak is the basketball beat writer for the collegian and can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

SPORTS EDITOR’S GUIDE TO THE GAME

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Nov 302006
 
Authors: Mike Donovan

When SDSU is passing the ball: Despite an early-season injury, quarterback Kevin O’Connell has rebounded and returned to his starting spot against Texas Christian two weeks ago. In his two starts since he returned, O’Connell has thrown four interceptions and two touchdowns. The Rams’ pass defense has played well at times against average competition and should be able to handle the far-from-potent Aztec offense.

Advantage: CSU

When SDSU is running the ball: After the first two games of the season, running back Atiyyah Henderson had rushed for zero yards on one carry. Since then, he has racked up 706 yards on his way to a pretty good season. Henderson’s one drawback is his scoring numbers. He hasn’t crossed the goal line yet and is one of the nation’s leading rushers who hasn’t had a touchdown. Despite this fact, a worn-out defense may not be able to stop SDSU.

Advantage: SDSU

When CSU is passing the ball: Almost out of nowhere, some fans have started to call for backup Billy Farris to get the start against the Aztecs. However, starter Caleb Hanie will likely get the nod despite Farris’ numbers in the last two games. Hanie and his receiving corps should be on track against an SDSU defense that has given up 93 points in its last two games. CSU should finally get a break in this game and may throw the ball more frequently than they have during the rest of the regular season.

Advantage: CSU

When CSU is running the ball: It has been well-documented that CSU is not a running powerhouse this year. That being said, last week’s performance against TCU hit a new low point. Farris, who entered the game in the third quarter, led the Rams in rushing with 19 yards. It is a stretch, coming off a game like that, to think anything will change. However, with Nnamdi Ohaeri out for the game, Gartrell Johnson III and Michael Myers will split carries for the Rams.

Advantage: TCU

Prediction: For both teams, 2006 has been a year to forget. SDSU and CSU’s combined conference record of 3-11 is not what either Sonny Lubick or Chuck Long expected. That being said, this game may be fun to watch as players fight for their jobs going into spring ball. For seniors, it is a chance to go out a winner, something not all players get the opportunity to do. In other words, this game is almost impossible to predict due to personnel changes for both teams. But they don’t pay me to be indecisive, so I believe that CSU will go out as winners and end their miserable season on a high point.

Final Score: CSU 31, SDSU 21

Sports Editor Mike Donovan can be reached at sports@collegian.com. The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the individual author and not necessarily those of the Collegian.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Football to face Aztecs

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Nov 302006
 
Authors: Brett Okamoto

What could possibly be comforting after a 45-14 loss at home to Texas Christian? Knowing they beat your next opponents 52-0.

The CSU Rams (4-7, 1-6 MWC) are hurting for a win in the worst way, and right now there may not be a better place to find it then in San Diego where the lowly Aztecs (2-9, 2-5 MWC) have lost their last two games by a combined score of 93-14.

“A win right now helps the confidence of the younger guys for next year,” said receiver Johnny Walker. “Nobody wants to end the season 0-7.”

Last year the Aztecs came to town for the Rams’ senior day and stunned them with a 30-10 loss. This year senior day is in San Diego and the Rams are the ones in the spoiler position.

“Last year they did that to us on senior day at home,” said sophomore Klint Kubiak. “This year we want to ruin it for them like they did for us.”

While the game is the best chance the Rams have had for a win in a month, as losers of their last six consecutive games they aren’t looking down their noses at anybody.

“We haven’t won a game in forever, we’re in no position to say that any team is weak,” said Kubiak. “We just need to focus on getting a win and going into next season on a high note.”

In order for the Rams to do so, they’ll need to be more consistent then they have in the tumultuous six-game losing streak they’ve found themselves stuck in.

The San Diego State offense is less than stellar – the most points they’ve put up in a single game this year is 27 – but they are run by a talented quarterback in Kevin O’Connell. O’Connell threw for 176 yards and two touchdowns in last year’s game.

“O’Connell is tall and athletic, he gets out of the pocket quick and hurts you like he did to us last year,” said Kubiak. “When we’re blitzing we can’t blow by him, you always have to keep an eye on him. We’ve got to go for his legs and bring him down because he can side step you and make a play.”

The CSU offense should be able to go to work on a team that allows 29 points per game, second-worst in the MWC. The biggest holes are on the ground where the Aztecs allow 186.9 yards per game and where injured star Kyle Bell found 178 yards last season.

But the Rams, without their current starter Nnamdi Ohaeri due to injury, will rely on their third and fourth options, Gartrell Johnson III and Michael Myers, respectively.

“We’ll go with Gartrell for the first couple series and then Myers for the next couple,” said offensive coordinator Dan Hammerschmidt. “We’ll stick with whoever is doing better.”

The Rams turned to a little trickery during the desperate times in last week’s loss to TCU, when receiver Johnny Walker threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Dustin Osborn. Against the Aztecs the Rams aren’t planning on trying another one – hopefully because they won’t need it.

“We scored on a trick play [last game], so I think they’ll be ready for one,” said Head Coach Sonny Lubick. “Sometimes they backfire on you.”

In a final-game meeting between two teams with not much to play for, the game plan may not matter as much as how hard it’s being run.

“Conference-wise, both teams are similar,” said Hammerschmidt. “It’s going to be about wills and whoever gets up for the game.”

Staff writer Brett Okamoto can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Women’s basketball prepare for Pioneers

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Nov 302006
 
Authors: Nick Hubel

They say that revenge is a dish best served cold.

If that’s the case then the women’s basketball team will certainly be ready for retribution this weekend. As temperatures continue to fall and Colorado skates into December, the Rams will be taking on Denver on Sunday within the comfy, climate-controlled confines of Moby Arena.

Last year the Pioneers beat CSU 77-58 in an early match-up down in Denver. This CSU (2-4) heads into Sunday’s match up on a two game skid, having lost to Western Carolina in the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational last weekend and to rival Colorado-Boulder in a midweek game Wednesday.

The Rams will be led by freshman Kelly Jo Mullaney, the leading scorer on the team. In six games she has notched 27 rebounds and is averaging 19 points per game.

CSU’s guard talent doesn’t end with Mullaney. Seniors Sara Hunter and Molly Nohr are each averaging just over 15 points per game this season. Hunter also leads the team with 11 three pointers this season and Nohr averages more than seven boards.

In Wednesday’s loss to the Buffaloes, Mullaney, Hunter, and Nohr combined to score 34 of the Rams 51 points.

Denver (2-2) is coming off a convincing 60-31 win over Sacramento State last weekend at the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic. The Pioneers finished the tournament in 7th place.

The Pioneers have returned four starters and a total of 10 players from last year’s team that finished 15-13. They are led by senior guard Teysha Lowery and junior guard Brooke Meyer, who are averaging a combined 19 points per game. Lowery also recorded 62 steals during the 2005-06 season.

The game is the second in a three game series of in-state opponents for the Rams. They will play Northern Colorado next Wednesday in Greeley.

Tip off is set for 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon in Moby Arena.

Women’s basketball beat writer Nick Hubel can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

RamTalk

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Nov 302006
 
Authors:

I’ve heard of fair weather fans, but at CSU we have fair weather Plaza talkers! Seriously, once the snow comes, Brother John and company leave the Plaza faster than a CSU football fan.

Snow days are wasted on the youth.

To the squirrel who was struggling to climb the tree when it was snowing heavily yesterday: Please come to my house, I shall host you ’til the winter is gone.

I think it would be cool if CSU hosted a bowl game. We could get the two football teams in the nation with the most turnovers for the season. We could call it “The Fum Bowl.”

There should be disinfectant spray in every computer lab across campus – just like they have in the rec center. There is a sniffling girl with snot-dripping hands typing on the computer next to me. I wonder who sat at this computer before me… GROSS.

Only in Colorado: beanie, gloves, earmuffs, hoodie, heavy coat… with a skirt and Crocs.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Our View

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Nov 302006
 
Authors:

Menorah lights city’s hypocrisy

The Fort Collins City Council is in a tough spot, to be sure.

It only seems natural to put up Christmas trees during Christmas, right? But then there’s that pesky Hanukkah that always seems to start up around the same time.

And then, if you honor two religions, you’re going to have to honor 20. And before you know it, this winter holiday season will snowball into an all-out religious brawl.

No. Can’t have that.

So we’re left with two reasonable options: All religion or no religion.

The Fort Collins City Council says that Santa Claus and Christmas trees aren’t religious, so they’ve chosen “no religion.”

Reasonable? No. It’s a crock of crap.

Council members cite a U.S. Supreme Court decision. But the U.S. Supreme Court rules on legality, not taste.

Councilman Kurt Kastein’s statement shows just how thinly veiled the council’s hypocrisy is: “I like Christmas. I like the city recognizing that it is Christmastime, and the vast majority of citizens in Fort Collins would agree and celebrate Christmas. And the best way for us to do that is to display a Christmas tree.”

We’re stunned.

Is the majority of Fort Collins – even America – Christian? Sure. Do most of its citizens celebrate Christmas? Definitely.

But the people who don’t have been denied their right to make this city their own – to make it feel like their home, as well.

And that’s un-American.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

To the Editor:

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Nov 302006
 
Authors:

Emergency contraception part of a healthy lifestyle

The United States has the highest rate of teen pregnancy of any developed country at 300,000 teens a year. The availability of emergency contraception could help to diminish that number. Every couple and woman deserves the chance to prevent unintended pregnancy. On Dec. 6, Planned Parenthood clinics across the nation will be participating in Free EC Day. Anyone 18 or older can go to a Planned Parenthood clinic and receive a free dose of emergency contraception.

EC, or emergency contraception (also known as Plan B, the morning after pill) has been approved by the FDA for over-the-counter availability. This means that Plan B has been proven to have low toxicity (is safe), no potential for overdose or addiction, no teratogenicity (is not harmful to an existing pregnancy), no need for medical screening, self-indication of the need, uniform dosage and no important drug interactions. It hasn’t increased risk-taking or encouraged sexual activity in teens. If taken within 120 hours of unprotected sex, emergency contraception can greatly reduce the risk of an unintended pregnancy. And the sooner it’s administered, the more effective it is.

Planned Parenthood strongly recommends that women back up their birth control method. EC is available at all Planned Parenthood clinics and can be kept on hand just in case another form of birth control fails (a pill is missed, a condom breaks).

Every person has the right to lead a healthy and responsible life. As a representative of CSU Vox: Voices for Planned Parenthood and a student who cares about her fellow students, I urge to you attend Planned Parenthood’s Free EC day. Stop by the clinic at 825 S. Shields St. in Fort Collins to get your free dose of EC or give them a call at 493-0281 with any questions you might have. If you yourself are not interested, tell a friend who might be. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones and have a very happy Free EC Day.

Laura Ward

CSU Vox

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

To the Editor:

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Nov 302006
 
Authors:

Issues with diversity plan

While the good people of ASCSU and the office of President Penley have nothing but good intentions striving for a more diverse campus, they are eventually leading a prejudicial effort. Resolutions 3605 and 3608 I do cautiously support because being a senator is a job and senators must fulfill their job descriptions. Plus the senators should be trying to reach as many groups as possible in order to inform them about ASCSU and so that the ASCSU members could receive a variety of opinions on legislation. Because we all know, the senators are supposed to be representative of their respective colleges.

ASCSU is not the entity for which I am in quarrel with. The office of the president, in the “Stretch Plan” referenced in “ASCSU President deals in diversity,” will effectively create a quota. For the $100 million based in recruitment and scholarship will not be spent in vain by the university, because whomever they are recruiting will get into the school. This is the exact situation that I and countless others have been faced with while applying for schools. I live in Southern California and our school system (the CSU’s and UC’s) have been trying to diversify. What this means is if I were to check a certain box other then Caucasian or white I would have more “points” applied to my application, therefore making it easier to get in. This is not just some conspiracy I have pulled out of the air. I have talked to friends of different races who admit to this and if you want examples, come talk to me. This is something I would hate to see at our university.

Furthermore I will issue you a caveat: when reading an article, do not read with ignorance. Andrew Angely (a friend) was quoted in the article as stating 88 percent of the campus is white. Well dear reader, I looked at the 2006 demographics report from www.state.co.us and it revealed that 80 percent of Colorado is white. Is CSU really that far off from meeting the average?

Stephen Mitchell

junior

construction management

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Could Stoopid happen to U?

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Nov 302006
 
Authors: Hilary Davis

College was supposed to make me smarter. And it has, to some degree. I would be a downright liar if I said I knew all about media’s effects without Dr. Joe Champ, or about how to produce a newscast without Professor Pam Jackson. And I would be especially lying if you all thought I knew so much about mitochondria just because I’m smart – I definitely give points to that professor who was really great but whose name I no longer remember, unfortunately.

But this is exactly what I’m talking about. For all my thousands of dollars, I seem to be, inexplicably, getting dumber. And as we march toward finals week, this has become my chief concern. A study done by Robert Sapolsky at Stanford University has found that normal stress protects the body in times of threat, but prolonged stress may potentially damage the body, including the brain.

In the study, Sapolsky has investigated the stress-health link and reports that a prolonged flood of stress hormones, like when a student spends several hours studying for an exam, can actually cause shrinking in certain brain areas, particularly in the hippocampus. The major role of the hippocampus is in memory. It is not unusual for persons with prolonged stress to report forgetfulness and difficulty learning.

Well, I could have told you that.

I cannot remember anything. I will call my roommate with something urgent to say, and then breathe creepily into her ear and tell her about that one time, when I was five and I rode that pony, just to fill up the time until I can remember why I called her. Or sometimes, I will bend down to get something out of a drawer beneath my desk, and I will sit on the floor for at least five minutes, trying to remember why I’m down there. On the plus side, I can see where I forgot to vacuum. On the minus side, it reminds me that I need to remind myself to vacuum, which reminds me that I won’t remind myself to vacuum, which reminds me that I’m getting old and kind of forgetful. I am 22 now. I just didn’t expect that my mental faculties would go the way of my liver after the grand old age of 21.

Also, I make up new words. This particular one worries me because I’m a journalism major. It’s my job as a humor columnist to put words, real words, together in a humorous way so that you, other students, read the words and I can keep my job. But after a long night of studying when I find myself accidentally typing “wurds” and “jurnulism” and the ever-popular “stoodents” into my laptop, I can’t help but feel like I am suffering from a case of the stoopids. Or perhaps it’s a case of white trash. I can’t tell.

And I seem to be napping more, which may come more with age and less with dumb. I’m not really complaining about this – I’ll take a good nap whenever I can find it – but the problem is that my naps seem to find me. In class. Or at 10 a.m., a time when no decent person who woke up at 9 a.m. has any business napping. I’ve also been known to nod off in public, so if you see me, please be kind and don’t draw on my face. Of course, with my current problems, I might not even remember that I never had a beard to begin with.

In his study, Sapolsky also describes what he terms “the devastating effects of chronically secreted stress hormones in the brain.” “Chronic” is the key word. Stress hormones secreted into the brain can actually make you think more clearly over the short term, but have long-term effects that are not so swell. I don’t know any college student who isn’t already stressed, so that kid cramming for a final exam initially benefits from increasing oxygen delivery and nutrients to the brain. But, by the six-hour mark, that same kid (i.e, you or me) will be thinking less clearly, the neurons won’t be working as well and the capacity for memory retrieval will begin to fade quickly.

If our professors want us to go out, change the world and get great jobs, or at least pass our finals, I suggest they stop asking us to cram so much into our heads. The more we have to learn, the less we can remember. And if I ever have to know the important details about mitochondria, I am blaming you, CSU, for making me this much more stupider.

Hilary Davis is a senior technical journalism major. Her column appears every Friday in the Collegian. Also, she would like to tell her mom that she was just kidding – her liver is just fine. Replies and feedback can be sent to opinion@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm