Pair of Rams’ players named to tournament team after Michigan stay

Luke Zahlmann

Following their stint at the Michigan Challenge, Colorado State volleyball had a pair of players recognized for standout performances.

Middles, redshirt junior Kirstie Hillyer and junior Paulina Hougaard-Jensen were named to the All-Tournament team following the team’s three-game stint in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Hillyer, a two-time Mountain West All-Conference player for the Rams accrued 34 kills in the trio of games, with only six hitting errors on the weekend.

Along with attacking prowess, Hillyer had 18 total blocks, her highest total in a three-game stretch this season.

After being injured for a portion of last season, Hillyer is already up to 111 kills on the season, on pace for her largest attacking output of her Rams’ career. Along with the pace, Hillyer is also in the top-10 in the Mountain West for kills per set (3.26).

The other leader in the middle, Hougaard-Jensen had 22 kills of her own. Sitting at 81 on the season, she is on roughly the same pace as last year, with a lowered efficiency. Last season, Hougaard-Jensen was second in the nation in hitting percentage (.474), a mark that coach Tom Hilbert even said was going to be nearly impossible to replicate.

Hougaard-Jensen had a combined 15 total blocks in the three games, trailing only Hillyer for the team lead along with four digs despite her position against the net.

Though the two standouts in the middle were awarded, fellow Ram, Katie Oleksak, failed to make the team despite her 107 assists, leading the Rams from her setting position.

The Phoenix, Arizona native also had six kills and 20 digs on the weekend.

The Rams will look to continue their success in their final out-of-conference weekend against Indiana State, Portland State and the University of Colorado, with the latter two matchups taking place in Boulder, Colorado on Sept. 15.

Collegian Sports Director Luke Zahlmann can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @lukezahlmann.