No. 21 Colorado State Dominates No. 8 Florida

9/13/2008

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The `Big Showdown' turned out not to be much of a showdown at all.

In front of 4,009 rabid fans at Moby Arena, the CSU Rams volleyball team knocked off one of the top teams in the country as the Rams swept No. 8 Florida 3-0 (26-24, 25-16, 25-14).

The Ram faithful, the most in Moby Arena since 2001, saw the Rams extend their home winning streak to 19 matches as they took it to the mighty Gators early and often.

After a tight first set that saw the Rams (8-1, 0-0 MWC) take an early lead, fall behind and then rally for a dramatic come-from-behind win, the Rams dominated the rest of the way.

"It was somewhat surreal," said Head Coach Tom Hilbert. "I remember the first game, but from there on out, I sat there as a fan. I have very little recollection of Sets 2 and 3. We played with the right attitude and our crowd was as good as it's ever been. This was fun tonight."

After surviving a Gator rally in the first set, the Rams took over. In the second set they led by as many as eight points (18-10) as the Rams hit .353 in the set while holding the high-powered Florida offense to .091 hitting. The third set was much of the same as CSU totally dominated. The Rams led 11-4 and then pushed that to 21-10 before closing out the Gators in three sets.

Redshirt freshman Katelyn Steffan led the CSU attack, which combined to hit .352 and added 12.0 blocks. Steffan posted a team-high 11 kills while hitting .500, while Jaime Strauss added 10 kills on .375 hitting. Tessa Nelson posted eight blocks for the Rams and senior setter Ashley Fornstrom added 30 assists.

"Kate Steffan had the match of her career I thought," said Hilbert. "She did not make a mistake that I would say `Hey, that's a freshman mistake.'"

The Colorado State University volleyball team is by no means satisfied, but it has to feel good about its weekend. The Rams swept the North Carolina Tar Heels on Friday night and then followed that up with a huge win over the Gators, who came into the game undefeated (previously 6-0) and having lost only four sets all season.

"Florida is a great team but we just played with so much energy tonight," said outside hitter Jacque Davisson. "All the pressure was on them (Florida). It was just a game for us to prove to the rest of the country how good we really are."

The Rams couldn't have imagined a better start to each of the three sets. CSU jumped out to 6-2 leads in all three sets, including the opening set of the match. In the first set, Steffan tallied three of the game's first four points. She opened the scoring with a kill and then followed that up with two service aces in the next three points as the Rams opened up a 4-0 lead to start the match. They would push their lead to 10-4 and then 14-7 before the Gators flexed their muscles. Florida would go on a 15-7 run to take a 22-21 lead but the Rams rallied back. Steffan posted two kills and a block in three points to give the Rams a 25-24 edge before a Gator hitting error sealed the set win for CSU. She finished the first set with six kills on .650 hitting and three blocks.

The Rams will now turn their attention to Mountain West Conference play as they get set to host Utah, BYU and Wyoming.

Article courtesy of Colorado State athletics.

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