Continued Perfection

Oct 262003
Authors: Joelle Milholm

In four close games against Utah, the CSU volleyball team had

two come-from-behind victories to win the match 3-1 and continue

their undefeated reign atop the Mountain West Conference.

The Rams beat BYU, who fell to 16-6 overall and 6-3 in the MWC,

in a three game sweep (30-19, 30-20 and 30-29) on Saturday night,

but played their best volleyball on Sunday against Utah who dropped

to 13-7 overall and 7-2 in the MWC.

“That was the most competitive game we have seen in this gym in

a long time,” said CSU head coach Tom Hilbert. “It was very, very

competitive. They were good and much improved from the last time we

played them. They were prepared for us.”

The lead and momentum shifted back and forth between the teams

in the intense game four. Tied at 18, the momentum fell towards the

Rams as they scored five unanswered points, including kills by

sophomore outside hitter Tess Rogers, and went up 23-19.

Utah came back and went ahead pulling within one of game point

at 29-27. Another Rogers’ kill, followed by junior middle blocker

Bri Frech’s block tied the game at 29. With the fans on their feet,

sophomore right side hitter Dre Downs made a kill to give the Rams

a 30-29 lead. Then Rogers had a game and match-winning block as CSU

won 31-29.

“I was just in the right place at the right time and did the

right thing at the right time,” Rogers said.

The victory moved the Rams to 18-4 overall and 9-0 in conference

and proved they can win close games.

“We’re good when the game is on the line,” Hilbert said. “You’re

a good team when you go out and beat teams 30-17, but you’re a

great team when you can win competitive games like this.”

The first game was close, but after a 12-12 tie, CSU gained a

two-point lead they never lost and won 30-25. In game two, CSU came

back from a 29-28 deficit to win 31-29.

The Rams scored first in game three, but Utah sophomore Shelley

Sommerfeldt helped guide the Utes to a 30-22 victory by hitting

.625 with five kills and five points.

For CSU, Katie Jo Shirley finished the night hitting .297 with

match-high 16 kills, while Downs hit .478 with a season-high 13

kills and a career-high eight blocks. Junior outside hitter Becky

Sarauer also contributed 15 kills.

Rogers led the charge for the Rams against BYU by hitting .458

and a match-high 13 kills and Sarauer had 12 kills and hit .346.

All five hitters hit about .300, while the team’s hitting

percentage was .346.

The Rams now travel to San Diego State on Thursday and UNLV on

Saturday in their final conference road games of the season. The

win against Utah should help them.

“A game like this brings up our confidence and makes us realize

that when we do get in competitive situations, we can work through

it,” Sarauer said. “San Diego State is good and we have confidence

going in, but we know it is going to be a good game and they are

tough to beat at home.”




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