Press Release courtesy of the Mountain West Conference
The Mountain West All-Conference Women’s Volleyball awards, as selected by the league’s 11 head coaches, were announced today. Colorado State sophomore Katie Oleksak was named MW Player of the Year, while teammate Breana Runnels was tabbed the Conference’s Newcomer of the Year and head coach Tom Hilbert earned coach of the year honors. Wyoming’s Marissa Harmon garnered MW Freshman of the Year accolades.
Oleksak, who was the 2016 MW Freshman of the Year, becomes the eighth Ram in the last nine seasons to earn the league’s top individual honor. The Phoenix, Arizona, native led CSU to its 14th Mountain West tile in program history this season. The setter topped the league with 12.16 assists per set. Oleksak was a key component to Colorado State leading the Conference in hitting percentage (.319), assists per set (13.44) and kills per set (14.36). The sophomore added 35 kills, 125 digs, 54 blocks, 13 service aces and three double-doubles during league action.
Runnels is the second Ram in as many seasons to be named MW Newcomer of the Year, and the fourth overall in program history. The outside hitter paced the Rams, while ranking eighth in the Conference in kills per set at 3.32. The redshirt freshman hit .277 during league play, while also contributing 36 digs and 29 blocks. The native of Bakersfield, California, recorded double-digit kills in 10 of 18 MW contests, including a season-best 20 versus New Mexico on Oct. 21.
Hilbert earns his 10th career MW Coach of the Year nod, and first since 2013. Hilbert led Colorado State to a 17-1 league record and a 27-3 mark overall in 2017. This marks the ninth season Hilbert’s Rams have finished MW play with one or fewer losses. Under Hilbert’s direction, CSU captured its 14th Mountain West crown and will make its 23rd-consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Harmon is the fourth student-athlete in Wyoming history to be tabbed MW Freshman of the Year. The setter ranked third in the Conference in assists per set at 10.60. Harmon helped the Cowgirls finish second in the league in hitting percentage (.249) and fourth in kills per set (13.54) during league play. The native of Frisco, Texas, posted seven double-doubles over 18 MW contests, which were the third-most in the Conference.
Boise State’s Sierra Nobley was tabbed to the MW All-Conference team for the fourth-consecutive season, becoming just the fourth student-athlete in league history to accomplish that feat. The Broncos’ Maddi Osburn and San Diego State’s Deja Harris both garnered all-league honors for the third year in a row. Four players made a second appearance on the 18-member postseason team – Colorado State’s Jasmine Hanna, Kirstie Hillyer and Oleksak, and Lauren Anderson of Utah State.
Runnels was one of 11 student-athletes to appear on the all-MW squad for the first time, joining Air Force’s Piper Heineck, Sabryn Roberts and Janell Walley of Boise State, Colorado State’s Paulina Hougaard-Jensen, Lauren Twitty of New Mexico, San Diego State’s Devyn Pritchard, Nandyala Gama and Breann Robinson of San José State, and Wyoming’s Jackie McBride and Tara Traphagen.
Honorable mention honors this season went to Colorado State’s Sanja Cizmic, Shayla Hoeft of Nevada, New Mexico’s Ashley Kelsey, San Diego State’s Alexis Cage and Baylee Little, and Harmon of Wyoming.
2017 MOUNTAIN WEST ALL-CONFERENCE WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL TEAM
|Piper Heineck||Sr.||MB||Air Force|
|Sierra Nobley***||Sr.||OH||Boise State|
|Maddi Osburn**||Sr.||L||Boise State|
|Sabryn Roberts||Jr.||OH||Boise State|
|Janell Walley||So.||OH||Boise State|
|Jasmine Hanna*||Sr.||OH||Colorado State|
|Kirstie Hillyer*||So.||MB||Colorado State|
|Paulina Hougaard-Jensen||So.||MB||Colorado State|
|Katie Oleksak*||So.||S||Colorado State|
|Breana Runnels||RS-Fr.||OH||Colorado State|
|Lauren Twitty||So.||OH||New Mexico|
|Deja Harris**||Jr.||MB||San Diego State|
|Devyn Pritchard||Sr.||L||San Diego State|
|Nandyala Gama||Sr.||MB||San José State|
|Breann Robinson||Sr.||S||San José State|
|Lauren Anderson||Sr.||OH||Utah State|
|Sanja Cizmic||Sr.||OH||Colorado State|
|Ashley Kelsey||Sr.||L||New Mexico|
|Alexis Cage||Sr.||OH||San Diego State|
|Baylee Little||Sr.||OPP||San Diego State|
|Player of the Year|
|Katie Oleksak||So.||S||Colorado State|
|Freshman of the Year|
|Newcomer of the Year|
|Breana Runnels||RS-Fr.||OH||Colorado State|
|Coach of the Year|
|Tom Hilbert||Colorado State|
*** = Four-time MW All-Conference honoree
** = Three-time MW All-Conference honoree
* = Two-time MW All-Conference honoree