CSU volleyball enters Top 25 for first time this season

Ryan Loberger

Colorado State University and the Ram faithful finally got what they wanted: a win over the University of Colorado. The Rams swept the No. 19 Buffs out of Moby Thursday night and followed up with a win the following night in Boulder.

CSU dominated Thursday’s match, winning in straight sets (25-12, 25-12 and 25-21) and taking the match on Friday in five sets: the first time the Rams have played to five sets this season. CSU won sets two and three and captured the fifth set convincingly with a 15-7 win to secure the Gold Spike trophy.

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Multiple Rams had impressive outings in the two games. Brooke Hudson tallied four service aces over both contests and Katie Oleksak totaled 67 assists, but it was Breana Runnels’ performance that stood out.

https://twitter.com/CSUvolleyball/status/1173653131319640064

The redshirt junior was named the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week, the second time this season the Rams have won a conference award. Junior Alexa Roumeliotis was awarded the Defensive Player of the Week last week following the Rams’ successful weekend in Fort Worth.

Runnels tallied double-digit kills in both games, putting away 14 at Moby Thursday and 16 in Boulder Friday night. Over her first eight games, Runnels has averaged 12.25 kills per game with a .252% hitting percentage. Her career hitting percentage was .228% entering the season.

The cherry on top was that the Rams handing CU their first two losses of the season knocked the Buffs out of the Top 25 poll. The pair of victories over CU put the Rams into the Top 25 at No. 22 with a 7-1 record. CSU’s lone loss came at home to No. 24 Cal on Aug. 31.

Since the loss, the Rams have won five straight games, going 3-0 against teams ranked in the Top 25 while losing only two sets in those five games.

CSU’s next challenge starts this week as they’ll host the Homewood Classic starting Wednesday when they play the University of Northern Colorado at 7 p.m.

Since 2007, CSU is 12-0 against their neighbors in the north. It’s a stretch to call it a rivalry, as the Rams have swept the Bears in nine of the last 12 meetings. The Rams will follow up with a game Thursday against Cal Poly and a game Friday against Oregon State.

Correction: An earlier version of the article stated CSU would be playing in the “Hardwood Classic” the correct name of the tournament is the “Homewood Classic.”

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