Wait til next year

Dec 142003
Authors: Josh Pilkington

Gainesville, Fla. – Having fallen from the graces of the NCAA

volleyball elite, the Rams of CSU now return home after a

successful run to the regional semifinals came to an abrupt


The Rams suffered only their second three-game sweep of the

season (the other came to then-No.1 Stanford to begin the season)

at the hands of the Florida Gators in Florida’s O’Connell Center.

But the demeanor of the team is not one of anguish or remorse; but

of anxiety to prepare for the 2004 season.

“I was proud of my players. We hung in there,” said CSU head

coach Tom Hilbert following the team’s 30-13, 30-22, 30-26 loss to

the Gators. “We have no seniors on this team, so I’m pretty excited

for the future. What I told them after the game was that this was a

measuring stick for us.”

It well could be, if the Rams retain what they learned from

their experience here and apply it to next season – something

outside hitter Becky Sarauer said the team plans to do.

“We now know how good we have to play at this point in the

season,” the junior said. “We know what we have to do to get past

(the regional semifinal) round.”

That the Rams reached the regional semifinals was not much of a

surprise for the coaches or the players; nevertheless it serves as

a learning experience for everyone involved, said junior middle

blocker Katie Jo Shirley.

“Next year we have high expectations of where we want to go,”

said the 6-foot junior whose four-year tenure on the team exceeds

that of her younger teammates.

After going undefeated in the Mountain West Conference regular

season and tournament and with three all-MWC first team members

(Shirley, sophomore Tess Rogers and junior Melissa Courtney)

returning, the team has every right to be excited for 2004.

“This match, for us, was a valuable learning experience,” said

Courtney, who was also named co-MWC Player of the Year this


With so much youth and so much talent, the refrain resounds for

the Rams: wait ’til next year.

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