Oct. 20, 2011
By Nic Hallisey
Athletic Media Relations
BOISE, Idaho—Dana Cranston began the match with a service ace, and on the next play, Katelyn Steffan came up with a big block. Several kills, blocks and dumps later, the Rams had built a commanding 11-4 lead, and never backed down to beat the Boise State Broncos, 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-16) Thursday evening.
“It was a consistent match,” Head Coach Tom Hilbert said. “All the way through, especially in serving and passing, we played really well. When we do that we can assert our physical dominance on other teams. I was very pleased with the way our team played.”
The Rams (14-4, 7-1 MW), visiting Bronco Gym for the first time, got comfortable quickly, and those in attendance, eager to see the Rams play for the first time, saw all they wanted to see.
The attack was fairly balanced, with three players—Cranston (nine kills, .429 hitting), Steffan (eight kills, .412 hitting) and sophomore middle blocker Tori Brummett (seven kills. .778 hitting) leading the way offensively, while junior middle blocker Megan Plourde paced the defense with six blocks. Cranston, Brummett and junior middle blocker Brieon Paige each had three blocks, while Steffan added four.
As a team, CSU hit .383, compared to the Broncos’ .092. It marks the fourth time this season the Rams have held an opponent to under .100 hitting. CSU outblocked Boise State (12-11, 3-5 MW) 10.5-2.
“We executed really well,” Brummett said, “and did what we needed to do. We dominated the specific things we set out to do.”
CSU made quick work of Boise in Set 1, dismantling the Broncos, 25-15. The Rams recorded kills on their first seven attempts, and hit .556 in the set, with six different players recording a kill, and five putting up a block.
“It means a lot to serve and pass well, especially at the beginning of a match,” Hilbert said. “What you’re doing is forcing the other team to play great, and that’s what we did. Even when they were playing well, they couldn’t get in a rhythm.”
After Boise took consecutive points in the second set—both on long rallies—to cut CSU’s lead to just three, 9-6, the Rams responded with a trio of points to force a Bronco timeout. Again, the Broncos cut the deficit to three, 15-12, but couldn’t get closer, as the Rams took the next three points, resulting in another timeout. CSU finished the set with 10 of 15 points to enter the locker room with a 25-17 win, and 2-0 lead.
Set 3 was more competitive, as CSU fell behind for the first time (3-4 and 4-5), but the Rams slowly pulled away to complete the sweep, 25-16.
“In the locker room after Set 2 we talked about Wyoming,” Brummett said. “We were up 2-0 in that match too, so we knew what was at stake. We knew we just had to keep our momentum up, and we did that.”
The Rams are now 4-0 all-time against the Broncos, never dropping a set.
Up next for CSU will be a road match at Air Force, Saturday at 1 p.m. MT. The Rams have won 35 consecutive matches against the Falcons dating back to 1982.