Women’s volleyball starts preseason as top-ranked team in Mountain West

Ryan Loberger

It’s no secret that Colorado State women’s volleyball has been the school’s most consistent athletic program over the past 20 years. The Rams have captured 20 Mountain West titles as Head Coach Tom Hilbert enters year 23 at the helm, after coming to Fort Collins in 1997. 

Hilbert’s tenure can be described as consistent winning and a tradition of dominance, leading the Rams to a stellar record of 561-134 (.807) and an in-conference record of 280-40 (.875) during his time at the helm. 


Coach talks to a player
Tom Hilbert coaches Katie Oleksak during the game against San Jose State. (Devin Cornelius | Collegian)

The Rams have made the NCAA tournament every season under Hilbert, so it’s no surprise that the Rams have been named to win the conference for the sixth consecutive season. Colorado State totaled 100 votes, including 10 out of 11 first-place votes (the other vote going to Boise State), Wyoming came in second with 79 votes, University of Nevada, Las Vegas totaled 78, Boise State gathered 73 votes and San Jose State finished off the top five.


1. Colorado State (10)    


2. Wyoming




4. Boise State (1)



5. San José State


6. Fresno State


7. New Mexico


8. San Diego State


9. Air Force


10. Utah State


11. Nevada


Since the creation of the Mountain West conference in 1999, the Rams have won 15 of the 20 regular-season Mountain West titles. The previous 11 times the Rams were chosen first, they went on to win the league nine times.

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

Katie Oleksak was named the Preseason Player of the Year for the second straight year. Entering her senior season, Oleksak is the two-time defending Mountain West Player of the Year and was also voted Freshman of the Year in 2015. 

Paulina Hougaard-Jensen and Breana Runnels were also named to the preseason team, while both Oleksak and Kirstie Hillyer were named to their third preseason team.

Much of the hype on Friday, Aug. 30 will be dedicated to the CSU football team as they hold their last installment of the Rocky Mountain Showdown at Mile High Stadium in Denver. 

However, women’s volleyball will also get their season underway at Moby Arena as they host the Ram Volleyball Classic. They’ll be playing Chicago State University at 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 30, the University of California at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31 and the University of Oklahoma at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31.

Ryan Loberger can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @LobergerRyan.