Vagneur hammers CSU into NCAA tourney
A great season of volleyball just keeps on getting better for one of the most celebrated athletes in the history of Aspen High School.
Catie Vagneur, a senior at Colorado State University, co-captained a Rams squad that finished second in the Mountain West Conference (MWC) with a 25-2 regular-season record.
The Rams trailed only Brigham Young University in league standings as they posted their best record ever.
After that sterling finish, however, CSU got a measure of revenge against BYU in the finals of the conference tournament last weekend in Provo, Utah.
After powering through the first two rounds, the Rams then topped the Cougars in straight games in the championship match, 15-8, 15-8, 15-12.
An outside hitter for the Rams, Vagneur notched 54 kills in the three tournament matches to lead CSU to victory.
For her effort, the Aspen High alum was named to the all-tournament team and took home MVP honors for the first Mountain West Conference volleyball tournament.
Joining Vagneur on the all-tournament team were CSU teammates Angela Knopf and Summer Jennings, both middle blockers, and Courtney Cox, another outside hitter.
In addition, the Rams’ Allison Peckham was named the tournament’s outstanding setter, and Kristen Vance, also of CSU, was named outstanding defender.
Vagneur started her career at CSU by winning Western Athletic Conference (now the MWC) freshman of the year honors in 1996.
Last year, in addition to being named to the all-conference team, Vagneur was honored as the WAC player of the year, an honor she is likely to earn again this season.
In her four years at Aspen High School, Vagneur qualified a remarkable four times for the State Track and Field Championships.
She won state titles in both the 200 meters and the high jump.
She was also an all-state volleyball player for Aspen High School and a standout for the Aspen Junior Volleyball Club.
With its win in the MWC tournament, CSU (28-2) earned a No. 2 seed in the West Region of the NCAA Division I tournament, which starts Thursday.
CSU will host Chicago-Loyola in its opening-round matchup at 9 p.m. Thursday at Moby Gym in Fort collins.
Should they win that game, the Rams will then take on the winner of the Kansas State-Louisville match, scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m.
CSU will also host its second-round match, which would be played on Friday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m.
After that, the going promises to get a little tougher for Vagneur and the Rams.
To reach the final four of the NCAA championships, CSU will have to win a region that includes such national heavyweights as Long Beach State, the region’s No. 3 seed, and Hawaii, the No. 1-ranked team in the country.
Joining Vagneur in the CSU starting lineup is Krista Swartzendruber of Glenwood Springs, another former prep standout.
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