Fort St. John’s Dana Cranston has been honoured by eight varstiy volleyball coaches in the U.S. by being selected as the 2012 Mountain West Preseason Player of the Year.
Cranston, who plays the position of outside hitter for the Colorado State University Rams, shares the award with Wyoming’s Jodi Purdy, and has been selected to the All-Mountain West preseason team.
“I think it speaks to my teammates,” Cranston said. “I couldn’t do the little things I do without good players around me. The fact that this award was given to someone on our team means more to me. It speaks to the history and tradition we have here at CSU, and the program that’s been developed.”
Cranston led the Rams with 36 service aces and averaged 2.46 kills and 2.54 digs per set last season.
Her team, the Colorado State Rams, has also been picked by the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division 1 to win their fourth straight Mountain West title.
“It’s another target on our backs,” Cranston said about the poll, “And we’re excited to face it.”
“It seems like we’re always in this situation,” said Rams head coach Tom Hilbert. “It’s a target on our back. These girls are used to playing with that pressure. They know that everybody gets fired up when they play us. It requires that we go out and play with excellence every night, because we’re going to get every Mountain West team’s best every time we play them. As an athlete you should want that.”
In 13 years the Rams have won nine regular-season titles and earned the tournament trophy five times out of ten.
“Every team will be looking to beat us, so we can’t allow for a bad game,” Hilbert said. “I think there are some pretty good teams out there.”
“We are an experienced team,” he added. “We’ve been in this situation before, but with consistency and an understanding that we need to use the tools that we have, we’ve been able to remain in this position. I believe that we are the most athletically superior team in this league, so we just need to go out there and get it done.”
The Rams’ 2012 season starts Aug. 24 against Virginia as part of the Rams Volleyball Rocky Mountain Invitational.