Rams sweep Aggies, Oleksak claims all-time assist record

Ryan Loberger

There is a right way and a wrong way to praise personal accolades, and in a season where multiple members of the No. 12 Colorado State volleyball team have etched their names into the record books, all have gone about it in a humble manner.

Kirstie Hillyer recorded her 1,000th career kill during a win against Fresno State, five days after recording her 500th career block against Air Force. Breana Runnels hit home 29 kills against Wyoming on Oct. 1, the most in a game since Dre Downs hit 29 kills against Colorado in 2005, making her the fourth player since the turn of the century to record 29 or more kills in a match. 

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Thursday night against Utah State University, senior Katie Oleksask overtook Deedra Foss’ all-time assist record, 4,833, with her first assist of the night. The setter credits her teammates and continual hard work over the past three years for the accomplishment. 

Nick Baker and Sean Garber of KSCSU caught up with Oleksak and head coach Tom Hilbert following the Rams 3-0 sweep over the Aggies. You can find the audio from their postgame interview below.

Katie Oleksak (22) hugs Head Coach Tom Hilbert after breaking the CSU all time assists record with 4,834 assists
Katie Oleksak (22) hugs Head Coach Tom Hilbert after breaking the CSU all time assists record, during the University’s game against Utah State on Nov.14. CSU sweeps Utah State three sets to zero. (Devin Cornelius | Collegian)

Oleksak was awarded a golden ball after breaking the record as the crowd and her teammates cheered during a stoppage in play. Head Coach Tom Hilbert stated how personal accolades aren’t the focus of the team, but recognition of the hard work that goes into achieving the records is important, and Oleksak’s commitment to the program is praiseworthy. 

“It’s always great to see,” Hilbert said. “You don’t want to say records are the most important thing — teamwork, excellence and winning (are) the most important thing — but what it shows you is (Oleksak) is not only consistent, talented and good and a great court general, but think about how durable this young lady is. She never misses matches, and that is pretty rare, and that is one of the reasons that she’s contributed what she has to the Ram program.”

Oleksak’s milestone was capped off with a CSU sweep (25-15, 25-22, 25-13) of the Aggies to extend their win streak to 24-straight games. The Rams didn’t play an efficient game by their standards; service and hitting errors helped keep Utah State in the match at times, but CSU overpowered the opposition, as they have all season. 

CSU limited the Aggies to only 18 kills and a .054 hitting mark while recording 50 kills of their own. The Rams’ attack was too much for the undersized Utah State to handle. 

Oleksak led the way with 43 assists in the match, bringing her career total to 4,876, and recorded three blocks, while Runnels finished with 16 kills, and Hillyer added 12 kills. 

If you’re wondering when the last time the Aggies defeated the Rams was, it’s been quite some time. The Rams have now beat the Aggies in their last 30 games dating back to Sept. 23, 1983

CSU will honor their seniors as they host Boise State in their last home game of the season this Saturday at Moby. The Rams took the last meeting in a five-set match in Broncos Gym. The game is set to begin at noon on Nov. 16. 

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