Nov 162003
Authors: Katrice Thomas

The Rams graced the court this weekend, with visions of a

conference championship twinkling in their eyes. That vision became

a reality as the 15th ranked Rams (24-4, 14-0 Mountain West) were

crowned conference champions at the mercy of the Air Force Falcons

and the New Mexico Lobos.

CSU’s women’s volleyball team went into the weekend with their

boxing gloves on, and walked away with smiles as bright as the belt

of a heavyweight champion. They delivered two devastating knockout

blows, one to the Falcons (13-14, 3-10) on Friday night 30-24,

30-19, 30-12, and another to New Mexico (4-24, 1-13) on Saturday

night, 30-11, 30-19, 30-18. Shortly after the win the 2004 MWC

champion Rams celebrated with their 2,230 fans at Moby arena.

“At the beginning of the season this seemed so far away,” said

setter Melissa Courtney. “But now it’s here, and it still hasn’t

set in yet, it’s still hard to believe.”

With the wins the Rams are the first team in the MWC to complete

the regular, conference season undefeated. But according to the

team, the task seemed attainable early in the season.

“This was our goal since the beginning,” said Casey Bauer who

had seven kills against the Lobos.

Becky Sarauer and Katie Jo Shirley also had seven kills each

against the Lobos.

“I felt like I could set anyone,” Courtney said. “Everyone was

on tonight.”

All eyes were on the Rams Saturday as they dared to dream of

places that no team before them had gone. But more important than

the dream, was the plan executed on the journey to the Rams fourth

consecutive conference championship.

“Everyone played very well and we executed our game plan” said

head coach Tom Hilbert. “I am proud of the players.”

Junior middle blocker Bri Frech led the Rams Saturday with eight

kills and a career-high seven aces.

“I just got my serve on tonight,” Frech said.

It was Frech and CSU’s tough defense that ensured the Rams a

spot in history. Courtney led the team with eight digs and Shirley

led all players with five blocks. New Mexico sophomore middle

blocker Chelsea Sondrup led the Lobos with five kills, while the

Rams held Lobo sensation Anna Reines to only four kills.

Against Air Force Tess Rogers led the Rams with eight kills, and

Andreya Downs hit .600. Frech tied her career-high with 10 blocks,

and Courtney had four aces and served 10 straight points in the

second game. Senior outside hitter Delanave Diaz led Air Force with

nine kills, and senior defensive specialist Brittany Edmonds led

all players with eight digs.

The Rams started the season at the base of the mountain with

eight other teams. No matter how high the mountain seemed in the

beginning the Rams continued to climb and fight off others who

attempted to take their spot at the top. The last fight for the

Rams was this weekend, but the journey for the Rams is far from


“We can celebrate now, but we still have to be ready to play

well,” Frech said.

The Rams now look to the conference tournament for their next


“No one has ever won the regular season and tournament

championship,” Courtney said.

The No. 1-seeded Rams will attempt to be the first school in the

conference to do so. No. 8 New Mexico and Colorado State face each

other in the first round of the Mountain West Conference

Championship Tournament at San Diego State on Thursday at 5






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