Moby Arena continued to work its magic for the Colorado State volleyball team over the weekend, as the team went undefeated en route to winning the inaugural Rams Volleyball Classic.
The Rams didnâ€™t drop a set in tournament play, defeating Texas Tech, Northeastern, and Illinois State by a combined score of 9-0.
Senior outside hitter Danielle Minch was named the tournamentâ€™s MVP after tallying 35 total kills and eight blocking assists. Junior setter Evan Sanders and redshirt sophomore Megan Plourde joined her on the All-Tournament team.
Plourde has been selected to the All-Tournament team twice this season, the first being in the Campus USA Credit Union Invite in Florida.
CSU opened Friday with a competitive match against Texas Tech, which was decided in the third set by Minchâ€™s game winning kill.
â€œThis was a good match for us to play,â€ coach Tom Hilbert said. â€œThis is the second year for (Texas Tech coach Trish Knight), and sheâ€™s got some pretty good athletes. Sheâ€™s playing some young people, and one of our main keys today was to play with maturity.â€
The Rams struggled comparatively in the second match against Northeastern. Although CSU swept the Huskies, the Rams registered fewer kills than Northeastern and lost focus at times.
â€œI feel like we need to communicate more too,â€ Plourde said, â€œIt was really quiet on the court today.â€
Northeastern setter Brittney Brown, a former Battle Mountain High School standout, finished the game with 15 kills and 19 assists in her return to Colorado.
â€œ(She) was outrageously good as an attacker and as a setter,â€ Hilbert said.
Hilbert was disappointed in his teamâ€™s defensive effort, however, as Northeastern was able to exploit the Ramsâ€™ defense with tip attacks rather than hard-hitting kill shots.
Sanders said the block had a good strategy and was smart enough not to go into the block every time.
â€œWhen a team doesnâ€™t have a lot of big hitters thatâ€™s something they resort to. Thatâ€™s way more tips than weâ€™ve seen all season, but they did it for all the right reasons and thatâ€™s something we have to recognize and adjust to a lot quicker.â€
CSU finished off the tournament with a resounding win over Illinois State.
â€œThis was a fantastic thing for me to watch because I felt like we did a wonderful job of rebounding from what was kind of mediocre play today to really good, really efficient play,â€ Hilbert said.
The Rams hit 40 percent for the match, higher than the previous two, and finished with 45 kills, also a tournament-high.
â€œIt was a good learning experience, just playing these types of teams,â€ senior libero Audrey Hemmings said. â€œ(Illinois State is) a lot better at defense and theyâ€™re a lot scrappier, and I feel like they made us work a lot harder to earn our kills.â€
Volleyball Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.