Colorado State sweeps Fresno State in annual Pink Out game

Angel Cooper

In the blink, or more accurately pink, of an eye, the Colorado State volleyball team is now 15-1 on the season and holds the top spot in the Mountain West Conference after a sweep of the Fresno State Bulldogs.

CSU had its annual game in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Moby on Thursday night as the team defeated the Bulldogs (22-25, 20-25, 17-25).

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Check out the highlights. 

In the first and second sets, the Rams struggled to keep the lead.

The Bulldogs had some strong hitters that made it difficult for the Rams to fight back. Desiree Sukhov and Amaria Kelley led the attack for Fresno State. Sukhov finished the game with 13 kills, and Kelley totaled nine kills. One of the main reasons why CSU was having a hard time with the Bulldogs early on was because Sukhov wasn’t expected to play.

Coach Tom Hilbert expected Sukhov to not play due to her status of being a transfer athlete.

Katie Oleksak(22) bumps the ball over to her teammate, during the Colorado State PinkOut game against Fresno State University. CSU defeats FSU three sets to zero.
Katie Oleksak (22) bumps the ball over to her teammate during the Colorado State Pink Out game against Fresno State University. CSU defeated FSU three sets to zero. (Devin Cornelius | Collegian)

“I have seen (Sukhov) on film but never on their team,” Hilbert said. “This was her first year as a transfer.”

The Bulldogs had a few tricks up their sleeves and made it difficult for the Rams to keep up with them early on in the match. Coach Hilbert got a little worried if their methods were going to affect his team or not.

“We had a hard time blocking, but we were in the right spots; we (stopped) them,” Hilbert said. “We were really worried about them hitting off our line blocker, but that didn’t happen nearly as many times as I thought it would.”

In the third set, the Rams came back with more confidence, as their hitting range went up to .348%. Fresno State made a push in the final set, but to no avail, as the Rams went on a 5-0 run late in the set to seal the victory.

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Kirstie Hillyer made history again this week. After notching her 500 career blocks against Air Force, the middle blocker hit 1,000 career kills during the third set against the Bulldogs.

Hillyer was surprised at first when she heard the announcer say her name, but her surprise quickly went away, and she started celebrating with her teammates on her accomplishment.

“I was so excited,” Hillyer said. “Honestly, going into this game, I forgot that I was close to that. As soon as the announcement went off, me and Jessica Jackson looked at each other. It was such a cool feeling knowing that these four years I lived up to that is exciting.”

Kirstie Hillyer(13) celebrates with Sasha Colombo(7) after Sasha scores a point for Colorado State
Kirstie Hillyer (13) celebrates
with Sasha Colombo (7) after Colombo scores a point for Colorado State during the CSU Pink Out game against Fresno State. CSU won three sets to zero. (Devin Cornelius | Collegian)

This Saturday, the Rams will host San Diego State (9-7). The Rams have been nothing short of dominant this season, but that dominance comes with a target. The team need to be prepared and ready for anything.

Katie Oleksak mentioned how her team’s offense needs to speed up, and they need to take more risks as a team.

“(We need to be) speeding up the offense a little, especially on the sides,” Oleksak said. “Also, taking a little more of a risk with decision making in the offense on what we are doing.”

The Rams know what things they need to work on to make sure they play better this Saturday. They will be hosting San Diego at Moby Arena at 1 p.m.

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