Colorado St. Overcomes 3 Major Injuries For 8-1 Record, Top 20 Ranking

  0 Braden Keith | September 10th, 2017 | College - Women's Indoor, Division I Mid-Major, News

Colorado State has opened their season 8-1, running off 8 consecutive victories after a 2-3 loss in their opener to Duke.

The Rams were ranked 20th in the VolleyMob Week 3 rankings, and should move up again when the new version is released on Monday after a 3-0 win over #17 Michigan at the CSU Tournament, the same score by which the Rams beat Florida State a week earlier.

Colorado State is perennially one of the top mid-major powers in the country and have now qualified for 22 consecutive NCAA tournaments – so for the unindoctrinated who might be reading, their quality is not unexpected.

What is surprising is that they’ve been able to maintain this level in spite of a run of injuries early in the season.

  • Middle blocker Alexandra Poletto has played in only one match this season, the win over Michigan, where she had 5 kills. The senior averaged 4.6 total blocks (solo + assists) per game last season and 11.8 points per game last year, starting all 28 matches in which she played. She’s been battling a knee injury, and is being eased back into the rotation, so she didn’t play in Sunday’s 3-0 win over Idaho St.
  • Middle blocker Kristie Hillyer is also dealing with a knee injury that is expected to keep her out for a few weeks. The sophomore started the first 6 games of the season for the Rams, as well as 30 games last season as a freshman. Before the injury, suffered in the Florida State win, she had 3 games with double-digit kills and was averaging a whopping 17.5 points/game, and was leading the team in scoring at that point. She was hitting a team-best .475 before her injury, whcih ranks her 7th in the country this season.
  • Defensive specialist McKenna Thornlow is in the concussion protocol, meaning that there’s still some uncertainty about when she will return. In the first 6 matches of the season, she recorded 40 digs and 2 aces for the Rams.

And in spite of it all, the Rams have thrived. Freshman outside hitter Breana Runnels has stepped up, recording 74 kills in the last 5 games, including going for 15-or-more 3 times. Sophomore middle blocker Paulina Hougaard-Jensen has also taken on a bigger load, including 7 block assists and 9 kills against Idaho St. She’s hitting .468 on the season, up from .351 last year.

The Rams as a team are hitting .310 this season, which ranks them 10th in the country (just behind 2016 Final 4 participants Minnesota and Texas). Even without their 2 starting middle blockers, they still rank 18th nationally with 2.91 blocks/set.

Note: ranks updated through September 7th, the lasts NCAA stats update.

This is a young Colorado State team that could be building the way back to the Sweet 16, where they last were in 2014.

Hear post-match highlights from the Rams below:

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Braden's first foray into sports journalism came in 2010, when he launched a swimming website called The Swimmers' Circle. Two years later, he joined as a co-founder. Long huge fans of volleyball, when Braden and the SwimSwam partners sought an opportunity to …

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