Match notes: No. 25 CSU volleyball hosts Rocky Mountain Invite

Aug. 23, 2012

The Colorado State women’s volleyball team opens the 2012 season by hosting the Rams Volleyball Rocky Mountain Invite. The four-team tournament will be held Aug. 24-25 at Moby Arena, in Fort Collins, Colo.

Schedule:

Friday, Aug. 24
Match 1: Rhode Island vs. Denver 4:30 p.m. MT
Match 2: Colorado State vs. Virginia 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 25
Match 3: Virginia vs. Rhode Island 11 a.m.
Match 4: Colorado State vs. Denver 1 p.m.
Match 5: Virginia vs. Denver 5 p.m.
Match 6: Colorado State vs. Rhode Island 7:30 p.m.

For the all of the updates from this weekend:
Live Stats: Live stats will be provided through Gametracker for all six matches.
Audio: Fans can access audio of this weekend’s CSU matches by tuning to 90.5 (KCSU) on the FM dial. For those outside the area, the broadcast can be heard worldwide on www.KCSUFM.com.
Video: Through CSU’s All Access subscription, fans can stream video. The live feed will be synced to the home radio broadcast. For more information, go to www.CSURams.com/AllAccess.
Twitter: CSU’s athletic department will tweet updates and results from the volleyball’s Twitter account: @CSUvolleyball.

Student BBQ event
CSU is encouraging CSU students to pack Moby for the first event of the academic year. To help bring students to the match, Papa Johns’s is giving away pizza to the first 500 fans, beginning at 5:30 p.m. outside the north concourse. Additionally, Wells Fargo and Noodles will be giving away prizes and food samples, respectively.

CSU in home tournaments
Head Coach Tom Hilbert always schedules at least one home tournament each season, which should come as no surprise considering his track record. In regular-season home tournaments, CSU holds a record of 63-13 (.829). CSU has won its four most recent home tournaments, dating back to 2009.

About Virginia
Head coach Dennis Hohenshelt returns to the Cavaliers’ bench for the second season, after going 10-20 in his inaugural year and finishing 10th in the ACC. He will return four starters from last year’s squad, including senior Jessica O’Shoney, who ranked 50th nationally with a .347 hitting percentage a year ago. O’Shoney, a middle blocker from Austin, Texas, also averaged 2.68 kills and 1.09 blocks per set. Emily Rottman, a junior, led Virginia with 3.75 digs in 2011. In all, seven Cavaliers averaged at least 1.0 kills per set last year, with six of them returning.

CSU and Virginia have never played before.

About Denver
The Rams will look to avenge last year’s setback to the Pioneers. In all, CSU holds a 14-2 record over its neighbors to the south, and has never lost to Denver at Moby Arena (8-0). This year’s matchup will have a unique flair to it, however, as Jesse Mahoney, Tom Hilbert’s former top assistant, is now the head coach of the Pioneers. Mahoney left the Rams’ staff in January after seven years in Fort Collins. Additionally, joining Mahoney’s staff is former Rams player, Katelin Batten (2006-09). The former libero was a two-time All-Mountain West selection and earned AVCA All-Region honors as a senior in 2009. She is CSU’s all-time leader in digs with 1,304.

Denver, which made the move from the Sun Belt to the WAC this year, finished 2011 with a record of 13-15, and will return five starters from last year’s lineup. The biggest name is Faimie Kingsley, who torched the Rams for 15 kills on .560 hitting last September. Kingsley finished her junior year fourth nationally in blocks per set (1.58), and also ranked in the top 50 in hitting percentage (.348; 47th). As a team, Denver averaged 2.66 blocks per set—24th in the NCAA—and should improve under Mahoney’s guidance.

About Rhode Island
It’s been 27 years since Colorado State and Rhode Island—both of which are nicknamed the Rams—played each other in volleyball. However, the first and only meeting between the two schools was a memorable one, as it was CSU’s second time hosting an NCAA tournament match. The CSU Rams took the match, 3-0, to advance to the second round of the 1985 NCAA tournament before falling to Stanford.

Bob Schneck, coach of Rhode Island, is in his 32nd year. In that time, he has delivered an all-time record of 537-433, including 15-15 record and sixth-place finish in the Atlantic 10 in 2011. Four starters return this year, including Britta Baarstad, a junior, who ranked second of the team with 3.01 kills and 0.25 aces per set. Senior Rachel Zarazan was the team leader in aces, and as a team, Rhode Island ranked 67th in the country with 1.40 aces per set. Additionally, Jill Anderson, Caroline Casey and Lauren Wong—Rhode Island’s top three blockers from 2011—all are back.

Home openers
The Rams have won their season-opening match each of the last two years, and have won their home opener 11 times in Hilbert’s 15 seasons, including four of the past five.

If CSU can get a win over Virginia, it will look to match last year’s start—and more—this weekend. A year ago, the Rams swept their way through the Arkansas Invitational, winning their first three matches of the season (and all nine sets). CSU hopes to do so again in 2012 by winning the Rams Volleyball Rocky Mountain Invite. If the Rams can win all three matches this weekend, it will be the fourth time in five years that CSU has started the year at least 3-0.

Five times in the program’s history CSU has won at least its first five matches to start a year, most recently in 2010 (5). In fact, in 2001, CSU won its first 20 matches before suffering its first defeat to No. 15 Utah on Nov. 3. That year, the Rams completed the season 29-4 and ranked No. 10.

Perfect in Colorado
The Rams will face Denver on Saturday, and despite a loss to the Pioneers last year, they have mastered the state of Colorado. During Head Coach Tom Hilbert’s tenure, CSU is a perfect 37-0 at home against the other Division I teams from the Centennial State—Air Force, Colorado, Denver, Northern Colorado. CSU’s last home loss to a team from Colorado came in 1995 against the Colorado Buffaloes.

In all, CSU has taken 87 of its 107 (.813) all-time matches against teams from its own state, including 49-5 (.907) at home.

Team Record Home Record Hilbert's Record Hilbert's Home Record
Air Force 37-1 19-0 34-0 17-0
Colorado 22-11 14-4 12-2 9-0
Denver 14-2 8-0 12-2 8-0
Northern Colorado 16-6 8-1 5-0 3-0

Get all the updates on Facebook & Twitter
CSU has expanded its volleyball coverage on social media. Like the team on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/CSUvolleyball) and follow the team on Twitter (@CSUvolleyball) for daily photos, videos and breaking news. Fans can also get an insight from Head Coach Tom Hilbert, by following him at @CoachHilbert.