- #23 Colorado State def. Utah State, 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-14)
- Colorado State improves to 23-2, 13-0 Mountain West; Utah State drops to 13-12, 5-8 Mountain West
- Fort Collins, Colorado
- Attendance: 1832
- Box score
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – #23 Colorado State continued its undefeated run through the Mountain West Conference with a quick sweep of Utah State, 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-14). In the Rams’ 13 conference wins this year, 10 of them have gone the minimum amount of sets.
Two Rams attackers finished hitting .500 on the evening. Breana Runnels was one of those, as she had a match-high 14 kills with only 1 hitting error. Kirstie Hillyer was the other, adding 13 kills with only 2 hitting errors and adding a match-high 6 blocks on the evening. Hillyer also had a match-high 3 aces. Jasmine Hanna rounded out the double-digit kill performers with 10 of her own. Hanna also blocked three balls Thursday night. Paulina Hougaard-Jensen led all attackers with a .571 hitting percentage (9-1-14). Setter Katie Oleksak ran the offense to a scorching .404 hitting percentage with 45 assists, which were the most Oleksak has dished out in a three set match this season. Libero Amanda Young led all defenders with 17 digs on the evening.
For the Aggies, senior outside hitter Lauren Anderson was clearly the best performer, filling the stat sheet with 10 kills, 6 digs, 4 blocks and an ace. Junior setter Kassidy Johnson distributed 26 assists and added 8 digs on defense. Junior libero Tasia Taylor finished with a team-high 16 digs.
Colorado State dominated in all facets of the game. The Rams led in kills (52-29), hitting percentage (.404-.161), blocks (9-5), digs (41-40) and aces (7-3). With the win, CSU is now a full four games ahead of second-place Wyoming with five Mountain West matches remaining. Since the Rams have already defeated the Cowgirls twice this season, they own the tiebreaker, meaning that a combination of one win by CSU or one loss by Wyoming would give the regular season Mountain West Conference crown to Colorado State.
Courtesy of Colorado State Athletics
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The No. 20 Colorado State volleyball team took care of business Thursday night against Utah State, recording its 10th sweep in Mountain West action and pushing its winning streak to 13 matches – remaining undefeated in conference play.
The Rams were led by Breana Runnels with 14 kills, while hitting very efficiently, recording just one error on 26 swings for a .500 hitting percentage. Kirstie Hillyer added 13 kills while also hitting at a .500 clip and Jasmine Hanna reached double-digit kills with 10 for the 18th time this season. Katie Oleksak dished out 45 assists in the sweep – most this season in a three-set match – while adding two aces. Hillyer led the defense with six blocks and also served tough, dropping in a season-high three aces. Amanda Young and Sanja Cizmic guided the back row tallying 17 and 10 digs, respectfully.
Colorado State did what they have done numerous times this season – get into a rhythm and score in runs; and that is what it did Thursday. The Rams took an early lead to start the match and did not look back, cruising to a 25-16 first set finish after using five different runs throughout the frame. The Aggies looked to try the same thing in the second set, leading early, but it would not last long. CSU kept to the game plan and charged back with a 4-0 run to gain a one-point lead. Utah State tied the set at 7-7 before 12-2 run gave the Rams a healthy lead through the end of the set. The third frame went quickly as Colorado State again manufactured a 9-1 run to double the Aggies at 12-6 before closing the match to record the sweep, 24-14.
Colorado State will stay in Moby Arena this weekend and welcome Boise State for a 1 p.m., match on Saturday afternoon.
IN THEIR WORDS…
Head Coach Tom Hilbert‘s opening Statement…
“Offensively, we were really good and we were good in the first two sets. I was very pleased. We blocked the ball well in set one and we felt like we found a weakness in their row one. That was the difference in that set. We scored seven or eight points on row one. They made a change and ended up taking a small lead in set two, but we eventually ended up taking a huge lead. We came out in the third set and didn’t make a lot of mistakes.”
Hilbert on Katie Oleksak‘s exceptional performance…
“She was making great decisions. She had some tempo issues early, but ended up figuring those out. She moved the ball around a lot, so that everyone was seeing it and that is what I like to see. I want to keep everyone fresh and everyone mentally into every set. She did a great job.”
Breana Runnels her powerful hitting tonight…
“I think we all just get riled up. Tom just kept telling me to be patient and keep swinging. We had a week to rest our bodies and I think that showed tonight in everyone.”
Kirstie Hillyer on how the team was able to capitalize on the week of rest…
“I think it really helped. I think we had four games in seven days last week, so having that time off gave us the rest that we needed. We were able to come in on Monday and really practice hard and I think that made a difference.”
Courtesy of Utah State Athletics
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Utah State women’s volleyball lost at Colorado State on Thursday night, 25-16, 25-18, 25-14, as the Rams hit .404 (52-10-104) to the Aggies’ .161 (29-14-93). With the loss, USU is now 13-12 overall on the year and 5-8 in the Mountain West, while CSU won its 13th straight in league play, moving to 13-0 in the Mountain West and 23-2 overall.
Senior outside Lauren Anderson led Utah State offensively with 10 kills, hitting .231 (10-4-26), and finished second on the team with four blocks. Junior middle Lauren O’Brien led the Aggies at the net, recording a team-best five blocks, while junior libero Tasia Taylor led the USU back row with a team-best 16 digs.
Colorado State jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first set, but Utah State answered with a three-point run of its own behind kills by Anderson and senior opposite Kayla DeCoursey, tying the match at 3-3. The Rams countered with a four-point run and held an advantage throughout the rest of the frame, taking set point at 24-15. Freshman middle Bailey Downing extended the set with a kill, but CSU put the finishing touches on the set with a kill on the next rally, taking the frame, 25-16.
Utah State had an early 4-1 lead in the second set, following three consecutive attacking errors by the Rams. Colorado State bounced back and tied the set at 6-6, and then broke a 7-7 deadlock with three straight points to take a 10-7 lead. The Aggies were down by as much as 11, 20-9, before making a late push and out scoring Colorado State 9-5 down the stretch. Utah State fought off three straight CSU set points behind kills by O’Brien, senior outside Rachel Gale-Hammond and an ace by Anderson. However, a final kill by the Rams punctuated the set for the home side, 25-18.
CSU was led by a trio with double-digit kills in Breana Runnels with 14, followed by Kirstie Hillyer with 13 and Jasmine Hanna with 10. Runnels and Hillyer both hit .500 and Paulina Hougaard-Jensen led both sides, hitting .571 with nine kills on 14 attempts and only one error. Amanda Young finished the night with a match-high 17 digs and Hillyer finished the contest with a match-high six blocks.Utah State took another early lead in the third set, scoring the first two points of the frame behind a kill by Anderson and a block by Anderson and O’Brien. The Aggies continued to lead at 5-3, but Colorado State countered with a four-point run, taking a 7-5 lead and never trailed again. The Rams finished the match on a four-point run to take the victory, 25-14.