Match notes: Rams to host top Mountain West teams Thursday, Saturday
Nov. 6, 2012
Full release in PDF format | Social Media Night release | Purchase tickets
CSU volleyball on Facebook | CSU volleyball on Twitter
RAMS VS. REBELS - THE MATCHUP
THURSDAY, NOV. 8, 2012 | 7 P.M. MT | MOBY ARENA (8,745) | FORT COLLINS, COLO.
The Rams will host UNLV, which comes into the match tied for second place in the Mountain West with the Rams at 8-3, and 16-8 overall.
UNLV provides as balanced of a team as there is in the conference, ranking in the top half in every statistical category. On offense, the Rebels rank second in assists (12.79 per set) and third in kills (13.63) while hitting .228 as a team. On defense, UNLV ranks second in digs (15.23) and fourth in blocks (2.54).
The Rebels are led by junior outside hitter Sekola Falemaka, who is averaging a team-best 3.08 kills per set. Distributing the ball to Falemaka and her teammates, is a dynamic freshman setter, Kinsey Caldwell. Caldwell ranks third in the conference in assists at 10.45 per set, just behind CSU’s sophomore setter Deedra Foss.
On defense, UNLV is led by middle blocker Madeline Westman. The junior is currently third in the conference at 1.38 blocks per set. Joining Westman at the net is Katln Winters, who is averaging 0.96 blocks per set, good for No. 10 in the Mountain West.
At the back, sophomore libero Allison Davies leads the team in digs with 3.99 per set.
Series vs. the Rebels
Overall, the Rams are 30-5 against the Rebels, including victories in each of their past nine matches against their Mountain West foe. Earlier this season, CSU knocked off UNLV in three sets in Las Vegas in front of a national TV audience. Dana Cranston led the team with 16 kills in that match, while Brieon Paige added 10 kills on .625 hitting. As a team, the Rams hit .396 against the Rebels, and also tallied 11 blocks. At Moby Arena, CSU is even better, posting a 15-1 record against the Rebels. The Rams’ only loss was in 2005, which is the last time that CSU has lost at home to a current member of the Mountain West.
RAMS VS. BULLDOGS - THE MATCHUP
SATURDAY, NOV. 10, 2012 | 1 P.M. MT | MOBY ARENA (8,745) | FORT COLLINS, COLO.
Scouting Fresno State
CSU plays host to Fresno State on Saturday. The Bulldogs come into the match a game behind the Rams in the conference standings (7-4), and 16-9 overall.
Fresno State leads the Mountain West in both service aces (1.36 per set) and digs (15.36). Offensively, the Bulldogs rank fourth in the conference in both kills and assists, tallying 13.58 and 12.55 per set, respectively.
Fresno State is led by a pair of dynamic juniors in Korrin Wild and Marissa Brand. Wild leads the team with 3.85 points per set, a mark that ranks her fourth in the conference, while Brand is close behind at 3.78 points per set, seventh best in the Mountain West. Wild also will provide a challenge for the Rams with her tough serve, averaging a conference-best 0.44 service aces per set.
Helping lead the way for the strong offensive production by Brand and Wild is Fresno State’s senior libero Barbara Alcantara. Alcantara is tops in the Mountain West, averaging 11.37 assists per set. That mark ranks No. 22 nationally.
The Bulldogs get strong production in the back from two players. Wild is ninth in the conference with 3.05 digs per set, while sophomore libero Christina Lee leads the team with 4.23 digs per set, just behind CSU’s Izzy Gaulia.
Series vs. the Bulldogs
The Rams have had some difficulty in the past against the Bulldogs, trailing in the all-time series 5-9. Colorado State, however, is 3-2 against Fresno State at Moby Arena, last playing in 1996. The Rams lost earlier this year in five sets when the two teams squared off in Fresno. In that match, Brieon Paige led all Rams with 20 kills on .471 hitting, while Megan Plourde added a double-double with 13 kills and 10 blocks on .360 hitting. Wild proved to be too much for the Rams on that night, though, as she registered 23 kills and 23 digs on .458 hitting. Head Coach Tom Hilbert is 1-1 against the Bulldogs, defeating them in the 1997 WAC tournament in Las Vegas.
How to follow the matches:
• Video: CSU offers a live video stream for all home matches. For more information, or to subscribe for this service, visit: www.CSURams.com/AllAccess.
• Audio: KCSU will be broadcasting the match from Laramie. Tune in to 90.5 FM locally or www.KCSUFM.com worldwide.
• Live Stats: Online statistics will be provided. 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 league, 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.
CSU recently played its 200th all-time Mountain West match, defeating UNLV in straight sets. The Rams have won nearly 85 percent of their MW matches (174-31, .849 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 (79-24, .767).
The league’s all-time composite standings can be found on Page 6 of the release.
Down to the wire
With three remaining in the regular season, the Rams are one of four teams making a strong push for the Mountain West title. Entering the week, San Diego State sits a half-game ahead of CSU and UNLV for first place. Just one game behind the Rams and Rebels is fourth-place Fresno State.
CSU has won three consecutive conference titles, leading the league wire to wire each of those three years. In 2012, however, the race is expected to come down to the final week.
Remaining schedules for each of the top four teams can be found on Page 10 of the release.
Social Media Night & Orange Out
Thursday’s match will be CSU’s annual Orange Out, as the team plays tribute to its Aggie heritage by wearing one of the school’s original colors. Formerly the Colorado A&M Aggies, the school wore pumpkin and alfalfa as its colors.
Additionally, Thursday is Social Media Night. Fans who Like CSU volleyball on Facebook (www.facebook.com/csuvolleyball) will have access to several great promotions, including a $1 off coupon and the chance to win a trip to Boise. One name will be drawn, and the winner and a guest will receive roundtrip airfare, lodging for two nights in Boise and tickets to see the Rams play the Boise State Broncos in both volleyball and football on Nov. 17.
During the match, several in-game promotions, including a photo submission and twivia (Twitter trivia) will take place. For all the details, visit CSU volleyball on Facebook.
What’s more, fans who had their picture taken with the team on Oct. 19 can pick up their printed photos. Trading card No. 11 of the set of 12 will be available at the door. The final trading card of the set will be given out at Saturday’s match.
Match No. 500
Head Coach Tom Hilbert, now in his 17th year at CSU, coached his 500th career match at Colorado State last Friday, defeating Wyoming in straight sets. During his tenure at CSU, he has won 397 matches, more than any coach in any sport at CSU, and at a winning percentage that rivals coaches across the country.
The Hilbert factor
• Record at CSU: 397-103 (.794) – winningest coach in any sport at CSU.
• Career record: 571-175 – 19th among active coaches in wins.
• Career winning percentage: .765 – 10th among active coaches; 15th among all coaches all-time.
• 15 NCAA tournaments in 15 years in Fort Collins.
• Holds a 223-28 (.888) winning percentage at Moby Arena, including 25-11 against nationally ranked teams.
• 39 total wins against top-25 teams, including knocking off No. 1 UCLA in 2000.
• 13 conference coach of the year awards, in addition to three AVCA region coach of the year honors.
Eying blocking history
Already established as one of the program’s best blockers, senior Megan Plourde etched her name among the best on Oct. 19, moving into second place in CSU history for total blocks. The senior, who led the nation in blocks per set in 2011, currently holds 587 total blocks, which is 43 shy of the all-time record.
Plourde passed Mekana Barnes during the Rams’ most recent home stand, and now trails only Angela Knopf. The senior recently passed Knopf to become the school’s leader in block assists, standing at 552 and counting.
At her current season average, Plourde has a chance to become the school’s all-time blocking leader by the end of her career. 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 (www.SeniorCLASSAward.com), which runs through Nov. 26. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches’ votes to determine the winner.
The Rams’ incredible success at Moby Arena is nothing new to those who follow the program. Since Head Coach Tom Hilbert arrived in 1997, CSU has gone an impeccable 223-28 (.888) on its home court. The Rams won 11 of their 12 home matches in 2011, ranking ninth in school history for home winning percentage (.917), and are 12-1 so far in 2012.
Forty-two straight against conference opponents
Overall, CSU is riding a 13-match home winning streak against conference teams, which dates back to CSU’s loss to Utah on Nov. 24, 2010. The Rams’ most recent home loss to a current member of the Mountain West, however, was all the way back on Nov. 4, 2005, when UNLV defeated CSU. The streak spans 42 matches
Ten and counting
With its win vs. Wyoming on Oct. 5, CSU won its 10th home match of the season. As a program, the Rams have won at least 10 home matches each year dating all the way back to the 1995 season.
The Rams still have three remaining home matches on their schedule entering the week, meaning they can finish as high as sixth in school history, with a .938 home winning percentage (their record would be 15-1). It would also mark the 10th time in program history that the Rams have dropped one or fewer home matches.
Streaking at home
Between 1998 and 2000, CSU won an incredible 44 consecutive home matches. Since then, the Rams have pieced together streaks of 21, 20 and 16, which spanned a calendar year before the Rams fell to No. 2 UCLA on Sept. 15. The streak was the fifth-longest in program history. In all, the Rams have won 21 of their last 22 home matches.