Rams top Slovenian pro team

Sep 082011
Authors: Kyle Grabowski

CSU opened the 2011 Rams Volleyball Classic with a 3-1 win over Slovenian professional team Nova KBM Maribor in an exhibition game Thursday night. The Rams used 14 total players in the game to follow coach Tom Hilbert’s plan to spread playing time around so that his younger players could gain experience.

“My hope was that we were going to have some bigger gaps,” Hilbert said. “But we played some different people anyway and it still helped us. These young kids that are starting to get inare getting more and more valuable.”

Freshman Marlee Reynolds entered the game in the fourth set and immediately picked up a clean kill and a block in her first action of the season. She finished with two kills, a block and an assist.

“It definitely helped release the nerves that I had whenever Tom told me I was gonna be out there I got shaken up,” Reynolds said. “Going out there and helping out the team made me feel like I fit in.”

Nova took the first set 29-27 after the teams were tied at every point from 22-22 until 27-27 when Nova’s Monika Potokar blasted the kill home. Potokar finished the set with six kills and the match with 17.

“We settled down after the first game and handled their serving better,” Hilbert said. “That makes a huge difference.”

Colorado native and former Texas A&M product Sarah Ammerman led Nova with 19 kills and pulled up 10 digs, but also hit 11 errors in the match.

“I thought she was very good. We did a good job blocking everybody else on the team,” Hilbert said. “But we really did a good job on (Ammerman) at some critical times.”

The second set also went over the normal 25-point limit after Nova tied the match at 24, but Tori Brumett ended the set 26-24 with a kill.

CSU won the third set 25-23 despite being out-hit .226 to .158 and committing four more errors.

“I’m really surprised we won the third set,” Hilbert said. “I don’t know how we did it.”
Nova managed only three blocks on the evening, while CSU rejected 29 Nova shots with middle blockers Megan Plourde and Breion Paige recording six each.

“I think a lot of times when one of us gets a block it feels better than getting a kill,” senior opposite hitter Kate Seffan said. “Just knowing you’re shutting one of their big players down is a good feeling.”

Steffan finished with five blocks on the evening, as well as five digs and a team-high 13 kills.
Though the win didn’t count in CSU’s record, the Rams understand the importance of keeping momentum going into this weekend’s tournament.

“That’s a good team,” Hilbert said. “They push you and we need to be pushed.”

Volleyball beat reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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