Rams set for round 1 of Border War against Wyoming

Angel Cooper

On Saturday afternoon, Colorado State played at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in their first conference road game. The Rams had a rough opening set, but they were able to come back in three straight sets to beat UNLV.

The Rams kept their streak alive with 11 straight wins this season, and they are now ranked No. 16 in the nation. They keep moving on up.

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Now, they did lose the first set, but the Rams’ energy was intense and contagious. Being in a different gym didn’t stop them. Losing the first set put the Rams in an unfamiliar position, playing from behind. 

Middle blocker Kirstie Hillyer kept her team up with her energy and killer instinct. Hillyer had 16 kills against the Rebels, her highest total in any game this season. Despite the slow start, the Rams rallied to win the last three sets 25-15, 25-19, 25-17. 

Outside hitter Breana Runnels helped out in kills as well, finishing with 11 kills against UNLV. 

Another player who owned the net was Paulina Hougaard-Jensen, recording seven blocks on the night. CSU stumbled with errors, but the blocks from Hougaard-Jensen made up for it as she was able to stall the Rebel attack. 

Senior Katie Oleksak was dominant as usual. Oleksak had 42 assists in the match, two short of her season-high 44 against Florida State.

Player sets the ball
Katie Oleksak (22) sets the ball for Paulina Hougaard-Jensen during Colorado State’s game against Wyoming. (Devin Cornelius | Collegian)

Two players dominating the back row were junior Alexa Roumeliotis and freshman Brooke Hudson, both defensive specialists. UNLV kept trying to get kills against the Rams, but Roumeliotis and Hudson didn’t allow UNLV to get converts effectively. Roumeliotis had 17 digs, and Hudson had eight. 

The Rams hitting range was .339% with 52 kills. CSU only had 13 errors, and whenever there was an error, the team came back with a kill to amend the mistake. 

They will be on the road again this week. The Rams will be playing in Laramie, Wyoming, on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. 

It will be the first edition of the 2019 Border War, so this game is going to be huge for both teams. The Cowboys are 7-6 with a 2-0 record in conference games, and they have won three of their last four games. Don’t let that record fool you, as both teams will be vying for a win over their rival. 

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Dating back to 2013, CSU has won 10 of the last 12 games, but the teams did split the Border War last season with each home team winning 3-1. 

Junior Jackie McBride is the leader of the Pokes’ offense. The two-time All-Mountain West junior middle blocker has been hitting at an impressive .360% on her attacks this season and is coming off a season-high 11 blocks against New Mexico. 

The Cowgirls have been rolling, but the Rams have dominated all but one team they’ve played this year. If the Rams keep their energy high and continue to play with confidence, they will be able to beat the Cowgirls. 

Angel Cooper can be reached at sports@collegian.com or via Twitter @angelcooper05.