MINNEAPOLIS – I’m writing this to you from the Twin Cities, trying to keep that pretend tear from running down my cheek (it’s a pretend tear because I have no idea how to cry). Why am I sad? Two reasons.
One, I just witnessed a great group of young women end a miraculous volleyball season; and two, this is the final Weekly Blitz of 2009 (for that, you should be crying as well).
And speaking of the final Blitz, this column is a tribute to the greatest volleyball team that CSU has ever had the honor of calling their own.
Even though four other CSU volleyball teams have made it to the Sweet 16, I dub the 2009 squad the best of all time.
This team beat all expectations, won a Mountain West Conference championship, had both the MWC Player and Libero of the Year, earned head coach Tom Hilbert his 500th career victory and defeated Washington, the No. 6 team in the nation, in the NCAA Tournament to move on to Regional play — that’s amazing.
In order for this to be an appropriate tribute, I feel I should “directly” address some key players.
Meghan Plourde: What a remarkable first season for you as a Ram. A redshirt freshman, you were third on the team in kills with 235 and led all CSU players who had more than 100 total attacks with a .331 clip. You’re well on your way to eventually becoming a MWC Player of the Year and possibly an all-American in the years to come.
Jacque Davisson: No single player ignites Moby Arena the way you do. At the beginning of the season I asked you why your antics and emotions come out the way they do and you said that you love volleyball more than anything in the world. Kudos. Your teammates comment about how important you are to the team, and it shows. I overheard your speech to the rest of the Rams before set three of the match against Minnesota, and I could tell CSU played with more of a swagger.
Danielle Minch: The MWC’s Player of the Year. What a spark you were to the CSU team this year when, at least from the outside perspective, you weren’t really expected to do so. From the oasis that is Sterling, it’s nice to have stars at the state’s university who are from, well, the state. The question now is, can you repeat this stellar performance in 2010? Survey says ï¿½ yes.
Tessa Nelson: An incredible career came to an end on Friday, but it was only appropriate that it ended where it all began, your home state of Minnesota. It was really exciting to see you get the block in set three to give CSU that victory. Granted, I haven’t had many opportunities to interview you, but when I have been at the press conferences, win or lose, you address the media with class. Best of luck on your future endeavors, you’ll be a great ambassador of the green and gold.
Katelin Batten: While you’re without a doubt the greatest libero CSY has ever had on roster, you’re a leader in more ways than just the team captain.
I’m a Christian. Now I am in no way perfect, I’m just as flawed as everyone else. I cuss, probably too often, I say things I shouldn’t and am honestly a little more selfish than most people think I am. Still, I try to walk in the path and set the example Christ set for us. But it’s not easy, and that’s the main reason I respect you so much.
It’s so hard in today’s world to be totally open with your belief system, but you set such a great example for everyone thanks to your personal conviction in Jesus Christ. From the way you carry yourself on the volleyball floor to the way you chat with fellow students, people can tell there’s something different about you.
You’re a true leader on the CSU volleyball team and a true leader in the community; I know you’ve helped lead other athletes on campus to Christ. So I just want to thank you for being a role model, not just to other Christians and myself, but to nonbelievers as well.
God bless you and your outstanding career at CSU.
And to my faithful audience, have a merry Christmas. I’ll be back in January for another exciting semester covering CSU athletics.
Sports Editor Matt L. Stephens can be reached at email@example.com.