Volleyball season ends, but not without a fight

by Tony Phifer on December 7, 2010

Putting the wraps on a weekend worth smiling about:

Volleyball – In our bottom-line world, it’s important to note right off the top that the season is over. The Rams’ glorious run through the 2010 campaign ended Saturday night in a three-game loss to second-ranked (and host) Stanford in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Rams fought valiantly in the opening set, losing 28-26, before succumbing 25-13, 25-15 in the final two sets.

Prior to that, however, came a performance that has to stand as one of the more memorable in recent CSU athletics history. The 17th-ranked Rams, playing No. 24 Cal State Fullerton in the first round of the NCAAs, fell behind 2-0 after the first two sets and looked to be finished. The Titans, who CSU-Stanford piccame into the tournament with a veteran squad that had dominated its competition over the past month, looked invincible in the first two games. No matter what the Rams tried, Fullerton seemed to have the right answer.

After a 10-minute intermission, however, the Rams simply took over, rolling to a 19-25, 20-25, 25-12, 25-21, 15-12 win. It was CSU’s first rally from a 2-0 deficit in four years, and it was a thing of beauty as pretty much every Ram contributed to the historic comeback. The star of the show, however, was sophomore middle blocker Megan Plourde, who put together a performance for the ages with a school-record 19 blocks and a career-best 20 kills.

The loss to Stanford ended the careers of seniors Danielle Minch, Jacque Davisson, Audrey Hemmings and Emily Koenning.

Men’s basketball  The Rams avenged a humiliating 23-point loss at Fresno State last year by beating the Bulldogs 87-74 on Saturday to improve to 4-1 – their best start under fourth-year coach Tim Miles. Andy Ogide, who is third in the Mountain West Conference in scoring (17.6) and rebounding (8.2) had his ninth career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Rams. Ogide, a senior forward/center, is leading the MWC in field-goal percentage, making 70.4 percent of his shots.

Next up – The Rams face their biggest test of the season at 8 p.m. Wednesday when they take on rival Colorado (4-3) at Coors Events Center in Boulder. The Rams beat the Buffs last year in Fort Collins, and this year’s game figures to be a great battle  with both schools fielding talented, veteran squads. The game is part of a women’s-men’s doubleheader, with the CSU women (5-2) taking on the CU women (6-2) at 5:30 p.m.

Hoops, a tree and a plea

by Tony Phifer on October 29, 2010

Random ramblings on a (finally) wind-free Thursday:

I attended a men’s basketball scrimmage Wednesday night, which was sponsored by the Ram Club. The hour-long scrimmage was very entertaining and offered hope to the 200 or so fans in attendance that the Rams are due for a fun year. Seniors Andy Ogide and Travis Franklin will be a formidable combination at forward, and sophomore point guard Dorian Green really seems to be coming into his own.Men's Basketball v. CU in Moby Arena. CSU won 77-62. December 10,  2009

But the guy who REALLY got me excited was guard Wes Eikmeier, a sophomore transfer from Iowa State. Eikmeier isn’t overly large (he’s listed at 6-foot-3), but he’s a deadly outside shooter with a knack for getting to the rim off the dribble. A former AAU teammate of fellow Rams guard Jesse Carr, Eikmeier appears to have the ability to carry the offense on his back – at least in short bursts.

The Rams, by the way, officially open the season Nov. 13 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff – the first of 13 home games on the schedule.

I made a quick trip to the grassy area south of the South College Fieldhouse and found the oak tree planted in memory of CSU alum Glenn Morris, the 1936 Olympic decathlon gold medalist. The tiny oak – it can’t be more than a foot tall – replaces the tree given to Morris (and all 1936 gold medalists), which he donated to CSU. The original tree is unaccounted for, but the new tree – donated by Olympic historian Don Ross – is a direct descendant of the surviving Olympic oaks.

The area is marked by a plaque documenting Morris’s many accomplishments when he became CSU’s first and only Olympic track and field gold medalist.

And finally, if you are at all interested in joining the Ram Club, which provides scholarship dollars for CSU’s 300-plus student-athletes, the 2010 deadline is today. CSU has the fewest booster club members of any school in the Mountain West Conference, and the Rams need your help if they are going to contend for league championships and national honors. Call 491-4666 for information, and tell them I sent you.