Match notes: Rams open second half of conference season

Oct. 23, 2012

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THURSDAY, OCT. 25, 2012 | 8 P.M. MT | PETERSON GYM (2,000) | SAN DIEGO, CALIF.

Scouting San Diego State
The Rams travel to San Diego to take on the Aztecs, who have proven tough to beat on their home court. San Diego State is 14-7 on the year with a 5-3 record in conference play, but is unbeaten at home, posting an 8-0 record so far this year.

The Aztecs provide one of the most balanced teams that the Rams will face in the Mountain West, ranking in the top half of the conference in nearly every statistical category.

San Diego State ranks third in the conference in both kills (13.58 per set) and hitting percentage (.231), and is led by returning honorable mention All-American, Andrea Hannasch. The senior middle blocker leads the team with 3.56 points per set while also hitting .287, good for 10th-best in the conference.

The Aztecs have also gotten key contributions from junior outside hitters Summer Nash and Raegan Shelton. Shelton is leading the team with 2.99 kills per set and is second, only behind Hannasch, with 3.54 points per set, while Nash is second on the team with 2.92 kills per set to provide the Aztecs with a potent three-headed offensive attack.

Junior setter Johnna Fouch sets the tempo for the Aztec offense, ranking sixth in the conference with 7.76 assists per set, an average that she has upped to 9.38 in Mountain West play.

On defense, San Diego State is led by Emily Harris, who is fifth in the league with 1.34 blocks per set, and Kristi Jackels, who leads the team with 3.81 digs per set.

Series vs. the Aztecs
Colorado State leads the overall series over San Diego State, 32-14. The Rams have also enjoyed as much success as any team playing at Aztec Court, posting a 15-8 record over the years. Dating back to 2003, the Rams have now won 22 matches in a row over the Aztecs, including a 3-0 sweep earlier this year in Fort Collins. In that match, Dana Cranston led the way for Colorado State, posting a double-double (11 kills, 10 digs), as well as a career-high six service aces.


SATURDAY, OCT. 27, 2012 | 8 P.M. MT | VIRGINIA STREET GYM (1,800) | RENO, NEV.

Scouting Nevada
Nevada begins the week with a 4-17 record and a 1-7 mark in conference play. The Wolf Pack have now lost their last seven matches since beating San Diego State in their conference opener.

Sophomore middle blocker Tessa Lea’ea leads the way for Nevada. Lea’ea ranks fourth in the Mountain West with 1.39 blocks per set, and also leads the team with 3.12 kills per set. Senior right-side hitter Janelle Batista provides leadership and another offensive threat for the Wolf Pack. Batista is second on the team in both kills (2.40 per set) and blocks (0.71 per set), while also providing a threat with her serve, averaging 0.18 service aces per set.

Junior setter Dana Holt does a nice job distributing the ball, and ranks fifth in the conference with 9.01 assists per set. Along with her strong setting, Holt also averages just under two digs and more than half a block per set.

Defensively, Nevada has three players who average more than two digs per set, led by Kelly Chang (2.87). As a team, the Wolf Pack are fifth in the conference in blocking (2.37 per set), an average that they have increased to 2.47 in conference play. Nevada also provides tough serving as a team, ranking in the upper-half of the conference with 1.22 service aces per set.

Series vs. the Wolf Pack
Colorado State and Nevada have only met four times in their history, with the schools splitting the previous four matches. This marks the first time that the Rams will take on the Wolf Pack in Reno. Earlier this year, Colorado State swept Nevada, holding the Wolf Pack to less than 15 points in all three sets. The Rams were led in that match by Dana Cranston, who recorded 14 kills on .565 hitting. As a team, Colorado state hit .362 in the match, CSU’s third-highest attack percentage on the season.

How to follow:
Video: Fans will be able to watch Thursday’s match vs. San Diego State free of charge through video streaming. A link for the live feed can be found here.
Live Stats: Online statistics will be provided for both of this weekend’s matches. A link for live stats can be accessed through the volleyball schedule page.
Twitter: As always, CSU’s athletic department will tweet live updates and results from the CSU Rams Gameday Twitter account: @CSURamsGameday.

Top of the Mountain
In 13 seasons with the Mountain West, CSU has led the charge, winning nine regular-season conference championships, in addition to five MW tournament titles in 10 seasons. No other current MW team has taken home a regular-season conference title. Utah won or shared three crowns during its 12 seasons with the conference, while BYU won or shared a pair of championships. CSU has finished first in the regular-season standings each of the last three years, and is currently making a push for a fourth straight.

200th match
CSU recently played its 200th all-time Mountain West match, defeating UNLV in straight sets. The Rams have more than 85 percent of their MW matches (172-30, .851 winning percentage), far greater than any current or former opponent. Entering the week, they hold impressive numbers both at home (95-7, .931 winning percentage) and on the road (77-23, .776).

The league’s all-time composite standings can be found on Page 6 of the release.

Moving on up
With CSU’s win over Boise State last Thursday, the Rams moved into a three-way tie for first place in the Mountain West standings, the first time all season they have held a share of first place. At the halfway point of the conference season, CSU and UNLV are tied at the top of the league, both holding a 6-2 record. The Rams beat the Rebels on Oct. 14 in Las Vegas and will host them in Fort Collins on Nov. 8.

Eying blocking history
Already established as one of the program’s best blockers, senior Megan Plourde etched her name among the best on Friday, moving into second place in CSU history for total blocks. The senior, who led the nation in blocks per set in 2011, currently 578 total blocks, which is 52 shy of the all-time record.

Plourde passed Mekana Barnes over the weekend, and now trails only Angela Knopf. The senior can become the school’s all-time leader in block assists this weekend, needing just four assisted blocks to pass Knopf.

At her current season average, Plourde has a chance to become the school’s all-time blocking leader by the end of the regular season. More information on where Plourde, and other current Rams, rank in CSU’s record book can be found on Page 8.

Senior CLASS Award finalist
CSU senior Dana Cranston’s achievements on and off the court have landed her as one of 10 finalists for the prestigious 2012 Senior CLASS Award.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. The award honors the attributes of senior student-athletes in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition.

“This is such an honor,” Cranston said. “I owe it to all those around me—my family, friends and teammates who push me every day to be great in every part of my life. I’m surrounded by constant support and people who love me and who want to see me do well. Getting this recognition reminds me how lucky I am to be at CSU, playing for the coaches I do, and with the teammates I have. I’m so thankful for these blessings.”

The outside hitter from Fort St. John, B.C. was chosen as one of 30 candidates in September, before a media committee selected her as one of 10 finalists. Fans have an opportunity to make Cranston this year’s Senior CLASS Award winner through nationwide voting (, which runs through Nov. 26. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches’ votes to determine the winner.