CSU volleyball moves into top 25, Hillyer earns defensive award

Austin White

An undefeated 4-0 week has pushed the Colorado State volleyball team into the No. 25 spot in the latest AVCA coach’s poll that came out Monday morning. This marks the Rams’ first time in the top 25 this season after receiving points but falling short in the season’s first two polls.

The Rams started the week with a sweep of Northern Colorado last Tuesday despite struggling mightily in their service game.


CSU then travelled to Tallahassee, Fla. to compete in the Home2Suites Invite at Florida State University. Those serving mistakes were apparent in their first match against Texas Christian as the Rams dropped the first two sets to the Horned Frogs. After that second set against TCU, the Rams never looked back as they dominated the Horned Frogs the rest of the match in the service game and then rolled that performance into their next two matches.

Following the win Friday morning, the Rams took care of the University of North Carolina-Asheville with their second sweep victory in the week later that afternoon.

Florida State was up next and they had no answer for the Rams’ outside hitters Jasmine Hanna and Breana Runnels. The duo combined for 30 kills to help propel CSU to their third sweep of the week and give them a 4-0 record for the week.

Despite taking the match, CSU still left the tournament with some concerns as the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week, Kirstie Hillyer, went down with an injury in the second set against the Seminoles.

Hillyer did not play the rest of the match but sophomore Paulina Hougaard-Jensen stepped up and led the team in blocks against the Seminoles.

Hougaard-Jensen’s play was much needed for the Rams, but Hillyer’s injury gave a sour end to a great week by the redshirt sophomore. Hillyer had 20 total blocks in the Rams’ four matches which worked out to be 1.54 blocks per set. She also added in 35 kills on a .582 hitting percentage.

The award is the second weekly award Hillyer has earned in her young college career. She registered her second double-double of the year against TCU, in which she had 10 blocks and 13 kills.

The Rams return home this week to host their own tournament and will play Ball State and No. 16 Michigan on Friday at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively. They will finish out the week on Sunday when they square off with Idaho State at 12 p.m.

Collegian sports reporter Austin White can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @ajwrules44