Oct 282004
Authors: Stephanie Lindberg

Get ready to see flashes of red this weekend when both the UNLV

Rebels and San Diego State Aztecs descend on Moby Arena.

The CSU women’s volleyball team (17-2, 8-1 Mountain West

Conference) will face the Aztecs (3-18, 3-5 MWC) and Rebels (11-7,

5-3 MWC) Friday and Saturday night respectively at 7 p.m.

The Rams are riding a four-match win streak into Friday’s match

and are ready for a fight.

After beating both Air Force Academy and New Mexico on Oct. 15

and 16, the Aztecs lost to UNLV on Oct. 22. The Rebels have won

three in a row against Air Force, New Mexico and SDSU and are

currently in third place in the conference behind No. 17 Utah and

No. 9 CSU. UNLV will face Wyoming before they come to Fort Collins

on Saturday.

By watching scouting tapes, the Rams know that both UNLV and

SDSU have improved since their first meeting.

“Both of them are really scrappy defense teams,” said CSU junior

right-side hitter Dre Downs. “I think they’ve improved a lot. I

don’t think we can compare them to when we played them before.”

The Aztecs got their first win at home against Wyoming before

facing CSU on Oct. 2 and have continued to struggle on the road

where they are 0-6. The injury bug has hit their defense with

freshman libero Alme Cordiero out due to a knee injury. Cordiero

was averaging 3.67 digs per game, fourth in the MWC. Junior

defensive specialist Kari Dykema (1.53 digs per game) is probable

to start.

The lone senior on the team, outside hitter Kara Moriarty, leads

the team with 3.56 kills per game. Freshman setter Kristen Castillo

is averaging 10.23 assists per game while junior middle blocker

Ashley Bowker leads the blocking brigade with 1.34 blocks per game.

Junior outside hitter Melissa Stapley has 3.32 kills per game in

eight conference matches. As a team, the Aztecs average 13.26 kills

per game and are hitting .161.

The Rebels haven’t surprised the Rams, despite losing only three

conference matches to BYU, Utah and CSU in Head Coach Allison

Keeley’s first year.

“When we played them they were really good,” said senior middle

blocker Katie Jo Shirley-Cahoon.

Senior Rebel setter Nicki King was named MWC Player of the Week

after her performance against SDSU on Friday with 48 assists, nine

digs and four kills. King is averaging 11.75 assists per game.

Freshman outside hitter Maria Aladjova continues to thrive.

Aladjova has hit double figures in kills 17 out of 18 matches and

leads the MWC with 4.10 kills per game and is hitting .249.

Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Miramontes hit .680 with 17 kills

against SDSU while Aladjova hit 18.

The Rebels took the Rams to four games in their first meeting

and it looks to be another challenging match.

“I think Vegas will attack us effectively and I think San Diego

will attack us effectively,” said CSU head coach Tom Hilbert after

Tuesday’s game.

The Rams are hitting .294 to lead the MWC and are hitting .312

in conference matches. The blocking game was effective Tuesday

against Denver (15 blocks) and the attack was on as well (.342 with

55 kills).

Shirley-Cahoon leads the team in hitting percentage at .391 with

3.16 kills per game and 1.22 blocks. Junior outside hitter Tess

Rogers is averaging a team best 3.38 kills per game and had 14

against Denver. Senior middle blocker Bri Frech leads the Rams with

1.43 blocks. Junior outside hitter Casey Bauer had a good night

Tuesday with 11 total kills and 2.78 blocks per game.

The Rams will be happy to be back playing at home in Moby after

last weekend’s road trip.

“It’ll be good to have our home court advantage,” Shirley-Cahoon

said. “They’ll come and play as hard as they can. Every team comes

here and plays as hard as they can.”

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