Pioneers look to claim Rams

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Oct 252004
 
Authors: Laura Epple

Breaking ground at Moby Arena has proven difficult so far this

season for visiting volleyball teams.

The Rams have maintained a hostile home environment wrought with

intimidating victories and record-breaking landmarks. Tonight they

look to use this advantage to turn back Denver as they face the

Pioneers in a non-conference dual.

“For the most part we’re familiar with the types of things they

do, but we feel like we’ve got to serve and pass well here because

it is our home court,” said head coach Tom Hilbert. “We have to

track what they are doing offensively and we should be in good

shape.”

Although tonight marks the first time the Rams have faced Denver

in seasonal play, the Pioneers are not a complete enigma.

“We don’t have very recent film on them and that’s a bit of a

concern,” Hilbert said. “But we play them a lot. We play them in

the off-season.”

The Pioneers possess a very balanced offensive attack, boasting

five players with more than 150 kills. The Rams have been preparing

particularly for sophomore outside hitter Lisa Hunter who was the

Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year in 2003. Hunter was

leading the team with 4.36 kills per game before being sidelined

with a hand injury in late September.

“We know she’s a very good player, but she hasn’t played for the

month of October, so we don’t know if she is going to play or not,”

Hilbert said. “We are preparing as if she is.”

The Pioneers also bring with them a right-side hitting freshman

phenomenon in Amanda Millard, who leads the team with 186 total

kills.

Denver ventures into tonight’s match with a 10-10 record

overall. The Pioneers are 4-5 in SBC play. The Pioneers are trying

to re-establish themselves after a devastating five-match loss

against Florida International, snapping a two-game winning

streak.

In contrast, No. 9 ranked CSU is coming off of a fortuitous

weekend where it dominated the road trip to New Mexico and Air

Force. The Rams swept the Lobos on Friday night and beat the

Falcons in four games on Saturday in Colorado Springs. Their record

now stands at 16-2 overall and 8-1 in Mountain West Conference

play.

Over the weekend, senior setter Melissa Courtney picked up her

4,000th career assist – a path traversed by only three other CSU

setters. Junior outside hitter Tess Rogers also eclipsed a major

career apex, with 20 kills against Air Force to surpass the

1,000-kill mark. She joins only 13 other Rams with that

achievement.

In preparation for tonight’s game, the Rams are not planning on

making any ground-shaking changes.

“We are constantly trying to add stuff to our offense and maybe

do some new things, but the lineups are going to be basically the

same,” Hilbert said.

The match will take place at 7 p.m. today at Moby Arena.

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