CSU finishes conference road season with two victories over the weekend

Sergio Santistevan

A team that experienced growing pains in the early portion of the season is finally taking form as the Colorado State volleyball team picked up their 10th and 11th consecutive victories over Utah State University (25-20, 25-23, 25-10) and Boise State University (25-14, 22-25, 25-21, 25-15) on the road.

After sweeping the Aggies at Moby Arena a few weeks ago, the Rams replicated their success over their conference foe. The Rams win streak now sits at 28 straight over the Aggies, with the past nine being sweeps.

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“We didn’t play our best match, but we (Hadn’t) played in seven days so we were trying to get acclimated again. We served the ball well and as the match went on, we got better at blocking.”Tom Hilbert

The visitors struggled in the first frame by succumbing to eight errors and .129 hitting percentage but were able to force the Aggies into more mistakes. With a total of nine-score ties and four lead changes in the first set, the Rams fought out the victory.

CSU continued to struggle again in the second frame committing 13 errors on a negative hitting percentage (-.154). Despite committing fewer errors and a higher percentage, the hosts once again fell in the set due to the Rams’ four blocks.

Building off of their four blocks in frame two, the Rams used 7.5 blocks and a match-high hitting percentage (.480) to cruise to the sweep in the third frame.

Redshirt junior Kirstie Hillyer and true-freshman Sasha Colombo led the team with six blocks and 12 points.

“We didn’t play our best match, but we (hadn’t) played in seven days so we were trying to get acclimated again,” Coach Tom Hilbert said. “We served the ball well and as the match went on, we got better at blocking.”

Kirstie Hillyer hits against Fresno State. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

Looking to continue their winning streak, the Rams made the trip north to Boise, Idaho for their last road game of the regular season.

The Rams cruised to an opening frame victory before falling in a close second frame. In a close-set, the Broncos late 5-2 scoring run proved to pay dividends.

Facing a large, early lead, the Rams were forced to battle back in the third frame. The visitors once again used their aggressive offense to come out on top by having five more kills than the Broncos.

Now with all the momentum, the Rams once again rolled in the fourth frame. Unlike the matchup against the Aggies where blocking led the way, the Rams had to rely on the offensive attack as they were out-blocked 13-7 in the match.

Tremendous ball-distribution led to 19 kills in the set with only four errors. Those stats were good enough for the Rams to leave Boise with a match victory.

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Junior setter Katie Oleksak showed why she is the reigning Mountain West Player of the Year as she dished out a program-record 61 assists. Oleksak’s 61 assist mark breaks her previous record of 59 against Fresno State University in 2016.

Katie Oleksak sets the ball during the game against Utah State. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

The Rams had a total of 66 kills, with Hillyer leading the way with 19 and redshirt junior, Jessica Jackson, recording a career-high of 16.

Redshirt sophomore, Breana Runnels, recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 14 digs and 12 kills.

The red-hot Rams will look to add to their 11-game winning streak on Thursday against the University of Nevada-Las Vegas at Moby Arena, the teams’ second to last contest of the regular season. 

Sergio Santistevan can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @TheRealsSergio.