Rams lasso Cowgirls, clinch share of regular-season title
Steffan celebrates Senior Night with 14 kills
Nov. 4, 2011
By Zach Balside
FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- The night started with cheers for Katelyn Steffan, rewarding what she had accomplished in her career as a CSU Ram. The evening ended with cheers for what she had just done.
Steffan tallied the last two kills of the match for CSU (18-4, 11-1 MW) as the Rams defeated Wyoming (18-10, 7-5) in three sets, 25-13, 25-13, 25-21, in front of a crowd of 3,392, the second-largest home attendance figure of the season. The win avenged CSU's loss at Wyoming on Oct. 8, and clinched at least a tie for the regular-season Mountain West title, its third straight.
The Rams controlled the pace of the match throughout each set, including long runs in the first and second games.
Carlie Foust's serving led to eight consecutive CSU points in Set 1, and helped the Rams pull away quickly.
"It felt amazing," Foust said of her rally. "Everything started clicking, and I'm most comfortable with that zone, so I felt extra lucky."
The Rams would go on to win the set, 25-13.
CSU didn't let up in Set 2, and got off to an 8-0 lead, and didn't look back, taking the set 25-13.
Included in the 8-0 opening run was a service ace by Izzy Gaulia, one of 11 aces that the Rams would notch during the match, a season high, and most since Nov. 8, 2008.
"Serving set the tone, taking Wyoming out of what they want to do," said Head Coach Tom Hilbert, who earned his 550th career win. "If they are out of system, we are going to block them. We blocked very well today. It disrupted them, and made them hts errors and not kill balls."
Ultimately, the night belonged to Steffan, and deservedly so.
"(I'm) very proud of Kate," Hilbert said. "She was a warrior tonight and I'm glad she had over 3,000 of her best friends out here to watch."
Steffan's parents were in attendance to see their daughter's last home match. Steffan appreciated the love that was given during her pregame ceremony.
"I kept telling myself not to cry, and I think I bawled," Steffan joked postgame. "It was hard to wipe away the tears and get going in the beginning, but being in system from the beginning helped me get the jitters out."
Steffan finished the match with a team-most 14 kills.
CSU has won 21 straight sets dating back to the loss at Wyoming. It's the most consecutive sets the Rams have won since 2001, when the Rams swept 12 opponents in a row.
Junior Dana Cranston had nine kills, the second-most on the team. CSU out-dug Wyoming, 44-19, and held the Cowgirls to a -.024 hitting percentage for the match.
The Rams can win the MW regular-season title outright with a win on Thursday at TCU. Game time is 6 p.m. MT. The game will be televised on a one-hour tape delay on The Mtn.