CSU outside striker named to Mountain West All-Star team

Mamadou Balde

The Colorado State volleyball team will have yet another player competing overseas in Breana Runnels, who will play alongside the Mountain West All-Star volleyball team in the 2018 European Global Challenge.

Runnels will compete with 11 other players from eight different schools in the conference. The European Global Challenge will be held in Pula, Croatia from July 9-12.


Breanan Runnels looks to spike the ball
Breana Runnels looks to spike the ball duirng the Rams’ victory over the University of Wyoming on Oct. 24, 2017. The Rams won in 4 sets. (Jack Starkebaum | Collegian)

Runnels is coming off of a dominant freshman year where she was named 2017 Mountain West Newcomer of the Year. In 115 sets played, she totaled 367 kills on 917 attempts, .234 percent. She finished the season with 152 errors. Runnels also added eight service aces. On the defensive side, Runnels had 79 digs, 10 solo blocks and 50 block assists.

Katie Oleksak and Kirstie Hillyer will also be competing in the European Global Challenge with CNT-Europe and USA Volleyball. Oleksak is coming off one of her best seasons at CSU. During the 2017 season, the Mountain West Player of the Year started all of the Rams’ 33 games at setter.  She averaged 11.94 assists per set which ranked eighth in the nation. In 20 matches, Oleksak finished with at least 40 assists. On Aug. 25, she recorded a season-high 59 assists in one of the Rams’ biggest games against Duke. Oleksak finished the season with 64 kills on a .342 hitting percentage.

Hillyer led the Rams in blocks for the second consecutive season with 1.46 blocks per set. She also ranked 17th in the nation in blocks. The Rams’ middle blocker finished second on the team with a .383 percentage which ranked 33rd in the nation, aiding her place once again as Mountain West All-Conference.

The MW All-Star team will be coached by Jeff Nelson from the University of New Mexico and Alex Luna from San Jose State.

Mamadou Balde can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @mamadoubalde62.