Aug 302010
Authors: Kyle Grabowski

Like their football counterparts Saturday, the CSU and CU-Boulder volleyball teams are prepared to butt heads in the Rocky Mountain Showdown at 7 p.m. tonight in Moby Arena.

CSU, ranked No. 15 in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 poll, started the season 2-0 after sweeping its weekend matches against Furman and Duke, losing only one set in the process.

“It feels good,” said junior setter Evan Sanders. “It’s what we expected of ourselves.”

Despite the impressive start, the Rams are taking their victories with a grain of salt.

“We didn’t really play as well as we can during the Furman game,” said senior outside hitter Danielle Minch, “but it’s a win, and being 2-0 is the big deal, and we can use what we did to grow from it.”

CU comes into the match 1-1 after also playing Duke and Furman over the weekend. The Buffs swept the Paladins and took the Blue Devils to five sets in a loss.

“Nothing against CU, but that is not a start I expected them to have just because of the struggles they’ve had in the past few seasons,” Sanders said.

The Buffaloes registered 90 kills in the team’s first two matches and only 51 errors.

Both Minch and Sanders are Colorado natives and were recruited by CU as well.

“This is a great volleyball program,” Minch said. “I just like being a part of this community and everything about Fort Collins was better than Boulder.”

Because of their Colorado roots, both players are well aware of the importance of the rivalry with CU.

“Every CSU or CU student athlete knows about the rivalry,” Sanders said. “It’s a big deal, but I would not necessarily say I’m preparing differently for this match than any other.”

The CU team that takes the court tonight will barely resemble the team that went 7-22 last season. During the offseason the Buffs’ roster was completely restructured and features only two players who played last season.

“Nobody knew what they were gonna be like because nobody knew the kind of players they were getting and how they’re going to gel,” said CSU coach Tom Hilbert. “It looks like they’re going to be pretty good. From what we’ve seen on film, they’re a nice team. They’ve got a lot of weapons, and I expect (tonight’s) match to be a barn-burner.”

Volleyball beat reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at

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