This weekend the CSU women’s volleyball team continues an eight
game road trip, heading to the Diet Coke Classic in Minneapolis,
The Rams (7-3) face No. 22 Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-5) Friday
night and are hoping to get their first win this season against a
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (9-1) and University of North
Carolina at Charlotte (5-5) play CSU on Saturday.
The Rams have compiled a 2-1 record in each of the three
tournaments they have played in this season – their three loses
have all been to ranked teams.
“We compete with the ranked teams but I’d like to see us beat
them,” said sophomore outside hitter Tess Rogers.
“We need to win a match where we’re stretched a little,” head
coach Tom Hilbert said. “We’d like to win this tournament 3-0 and I
think it’s possible. That would be a big boom for us.”
After losing their first four matches, Minnesota seems to have
rebounded. The Golden Gophers are coming off a four-game win
against No. 6 Northern Iowa on Wednesday. Four of the team’s five
loses came against top 20 teams.
Junior outside hitter Trisha Bratford is averaging 4.15 kills
per game and senior Cassie Busse is hitting a team best .269 and
has recorded 18 service aces on the season.
Another task for the Rams is facing two unranked teams they
don’t know much about.
“(UW-Milwaukee and NC-Charlotte) may not be ranked but I think
they’re playing well,” Rogers said. “Our schedule seems tougher
this year. We get to see new names and new faces.”
Leading UW-Milwaukee is senior setter Lindsey Spoden, who has
been named the Horizon League Player of the Week twice this season.
Spoden, who had 10 kills, 15 digs and 62 assists against Sacramento
State last Saturday, became the first Panther to collect a
triple-double since 1996.
Junior outside hitter Karen Fruit is averaging 4.62 kills and
leads the team in digs as well with 3.35 per game.
The NC-Charlotte 49ers bring sophomore outside hitter Abbey
Szlanfucht who leads the team with 3.76 kills per game. Junior
setter Molly McDonald has 19 service aces on the season – .45 per
In CSU’s loss to No. 12 Kansas State, the Rams hitters performed
well. Junior Becky Sarauer led the team with 16 kills. Rogers and
Katie Jo Shirley each had 13.
Hilbert hopes the team remains calm on the road, like they did
in last weekend’s tournament.
“You hope that your team figures out how to relax themselves,”
Hilbert said. “Being in a strange environment causes nervousness.
Skills don’t flow as easily.”