Nov 022008
Authors: Stephen Myers

Sitting atop the Mountain West Conference standings with a 9-1 record and a 19-2 overall record, one might think there is not much more for the No. 14 nationally ranked CSU volleyball team to work on.

Head coach Tom Hilbert disagreed.

“We need to be a better out of system team,” Hilbert said. “Be able to terminate balls more once we get into rallies with people.”

And he said this after a 3-0 demolishing over Air Force on Saturday in which the Rams held the Falcons to an absurd -.224 hitting percentage while hitting .400 themselves.

The Rams even went on a 19-1 run in the third set that saw them go from down 2-1 to sporting a 20-3 lead.

“We should have had 25-1,” said freshman setter Evan Sanders. “We’re going to get punished on Monday,” she joked.

Hilbert would also like to improve as a serving team, saying there is more room for growth. If they can improve any more from what they did Saturday, the MWC might want to take cover.

The Rams tallied 10 service aces, seven coming from sophomore outside hitter Jacque Davisson, who has improved her jump serve from the beginning of the season. The seven service aces is tied for third all-time in team history.

“I think that it just shows that we got stuff done this week in practice and then put it together when we were playing,” Davisson said.

This week the team will focus on preparing for its road trip to Texas Christian and New Mexico, particularly honing in on All-American outside hitter Jeanne Fairchild from UNM.

“We’re going to focus on Jeanne Fairchild; on how you block her and how you beat New Mexico, that’s the main thing,” Hilbert said. “We’re going to have to do it in what I’m sure is going to be a hostile environment. I consider this road trip to be as every bit as difficult as BYU and Utah. We need to go attack it.”

Attacking from different angles is something the team is working on as well. During the Air Force match, Hilbert switched his middle blockers to free some space for senior Mekana Barnes who faces the block more than any other player on the team.

“My intent there was to get Mekana hitting behind the setter more,” Hilbert said.

Hilbert has had the luxury this season of a deep team and has been able to mix and match his lineups.

“What I really like is that we have some options, too,” Hilbert said. “We’ve got the ability if we want to take somebody out of passing we’ve got enough players who can step in and pass the ball.”

The coach has seen the most improvement in his team’s serve receiving and passing.

“I really like what Audrey (Hemmings) is doing. I think Batty (Katelin Batten) is playing great,” Hilbert said. “I think Jaime is passing as well as she ever has. I like what we’re doing as a serve receive team.”

The team has a short week to prepare as they head to New Mexico Thursday before taking on TCU Saturday.

Volleyball beat writer Stephen Meyers can be reached at

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