Old War, New Blood

 Uncategorized
Oct 072004
 
Authors: Laura Epple

Moby Arena will serve as the battleground when an age-old battle

is renewed tonight between the Rams and the Cowboys. The 56th year

of the CSU-Wyoming Border War brings a lot of history, but also

brings new elements.

“Wyoming’s a young team this year. I don’t want to overlook

them, though, because I think they are very athletic and they will

have a lot of emotion in their game,” said head coach Tom

Hilbert.

The dual rages on at 7 p.m. as CSU hosts the 8-7 Wyoming in this

long-standing, emotional, border battle. The Rams have historically

come out on top, winning 38 times since the commencement of the

annual clash in 1976 and losing only 18 matches.

Wyoming will use new faces on the court and new coaching on the

sidelines in an attempt to arrest the 12-game winning streak the

Rams have waged against the Cowgirls in the past. CSU has dropped

just five games in the fray since 1998.

Freshman standouts for the Cowgirls include middle blockers

Shelby Heggie and Lauren Scott, who have posted intimidating

numbers in both blocking and kills for the team. Freshman libero

Rachael Booth has also stepped up for Wyoming on defense, leading

the team with 4.02 digs per game.

Hilbert has dropped just one match in his tenure as CSU’s head

coach to the brown and yellow – an experience he remembers

well.

“In my first year here we beat them handily in Fort Collins,”

Hilbert said. “Then we went to Wyoming and they smoked us and they

blocked really effectively. We had a really, really hard time

handling that emotionally.”

This indelible encounter has motivated Hilbert and his team to

keep the team practicing hard to stay intense.

“They may be winning on the weekends, but they don’t win in

practice every day. We put them in difficult situations,” Hilbert

said of the team’s preparation for the game.

While Wyoming brings a battalion of new faces to the Border War,

CSU’s crew of seasoned veterans is not new to these trenches. Last

year’s showdown in Laramie was one of the most dynamic games of the

season.

As a sophomore, outside hitter Tess Rogers knocked down a .750

hitting percentage to go down as ninth-best in school history.

Setter Melissa Courtney had eight digs and five service aces, while

middle blocker Bri Frech added six blocks to corral the

Cowgirls.

“I thought we played one of the best matches of our lives

there,” Hilbert said of the match. “We were just not going to be

stopped.

The Rams will try to repeat this experience against first-year

Wyoming head coach Pat Stangle, who has not yet faced CSU.

“He is a good coach who comes from a great program,” Hilbert

said. “He will do a good job.”

Time will tell when the teams rumble 7 p.m. tonight at Moby

Arena.

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