- (RV) Colorado State def. Fresno State 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-12)
- (RV) Colorado State improves to 26-3 (16-1, MWC); Fresno State falls to 10-18 (5-11, MWC)
- Fort Collins, Colorado (MWC Match)
- Attendance: 1,887
- Box Score
Fort Collins, Colorado – After falling for the first time in Mountain West Conference play last week, (RV) Colorado State is back on track with a sweep of Fresno State. They already had the conference title wrapped up, as this was just another win tacked onto their season of domination in the conference.
The Rams showed to be the stronger team early in sets, but give credit to Fresno State for consistently battling back and tightening things up in the first and second. At the end of the day though, Colorado State came out on top in the first two before holding steady and controlling the third to the tune of a sweep.
The victory was another strong showing of the Rams offense as they hit .451 for the match with 55 kills to just nine errors on 53 assists. Setter Katie Oleksak was the bridge from the pass to the attack as she logged 44 assists to go with her eight digs and two aces. She was the starting point for a balanced attack to hit at that high clip as eight players had a kill with six at five or more kills. The leaders in that regard were Paulina Hougaard-Jensen (11 kills, .588) and Kirstie Hillyer (11 kills, .429) as well as Jasmine Hanna (10 kills, .450) who were all in double-digits.
Defensively, Colorado State had more blocks (4.5-2) and digs (42-30). That was a product of an aggressive serve, which at times was a negative (12 serve errors to just two for Fresno State), but other times worked wonders with five aces and plenty of out-of-system balls for the Bulldogs.
Outside hitter Taylor Slover (nine kills, .318) and middle blocker Haile Watson (four kills, .300) overcame the defense, but the Rams held the rest of their teammates to a .114 hitting percentage as Fresno State hit .183 overall as a collective unit.
After this one, Colorado State now heads to southern California to take on San Diego State on Saturday. For Fresno State, they will be at home against Wyoming on the same day.
Courtesy of Colorado State:
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The No. 24 Colorado State volleyball team finished its Mountain West home schedule with a sweep over Fresno State on Wednesday night in Moby Arena. The Rams used a balance attack with three different players recording double-figure kills. With the win they finish the conference home schedule a perfect 9-0 for the fourth consecutive season. CSU moves to 16-1 in conference play and 26-3 overall.
The Rams were led by Paulina Hougaard-Jensen and Kirstie Hillyer, who tallied 11 kills apiece, while very efficiently swinging at a .588 and .429 clip, respectfully. Jasmine Hanna also had an impressive night recording 10 kills while hitting at a .450 mark with only one error in 20 attempts. The team hit at a .451 percentage as a whole – their third highest of the season. Katie Oleksak dished out 44 assists in the sweep while also recording a career-high five kills. Amanda Young led the defense with nine digs and Sanja Cizmic controlled the net with two blocks.
Both teams battled for the lead in the first set, tying the score three different times, but the Rams went on a three-point run to make the score 10-7. CSU maintained the lead down the stretch and a kill by Cizmic finished the set, 25-21. The Rams came out strong in set two, jumping out to an early 5-1 lead, but the Bulldogs fought their way back to tie the score at 19-19. CSU went on another run to lead by three before closing the set. 25-22. The third set went quickly as Colorado State went on a 9-2 run to lead 12-5 before finishing the match to record a sweep, 25-12.
Colorado State will head on the road for their last Mountain West Conference match at San Diego State on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. MT.
IN THEIR WORDS
Head Coach Tom Hilbert‘s Opening Statement…
“This was a weird match, the first two sets were close all because of miss-serves and them acing us. We out hit them like crazy, but we are not blocking a lot of balls right now. We have to shore that up, and we will. I thought offensively we were pretty good tonight. We had some issues in the second set, but in the third set we were great. Fresno State was doing some slide release and focusing on our outside hitters, which leaves Paulina (Hougaard-Jensen) wide open – and she took advantage of it in the third set. I was not happy with the first two sets because of little things, but we bounced back and played better in set three. Katie (Oleksak) got a lot of dumps today, which is good, I wanted her to get more.”
Hilbert on his expectations for Breana Runnels in her first season…
“I don’t want to throw any expectations at her, I just want her to get a little bit better every day. Last year in about October when I was wondering why I red-shirted her, she had a couple matches where I was like ‘if this kid can harness this and do it consistently she is going to be very effective for us’. I want her to get a little bit better every day, a little bit better every match. Now that she is serving and is in the middle-back she is making a few defensive plays and she is really going to be an effective six-rotation player for us in the future.”
Katie Oleksak on the distribution of the ball during the match…
“As Tom had mentioned, they were in slide release which had a lot of one-on-one situations. Our passing was there so I was just trying to dish them the balls and it ended up working.”
Oleksak on her timing with outside hitter Breana Runnels…
“It’s really fun to set Breana (Runnels). She was never on my side last year, so this year she is always on my side during practice. We are definitely working on that tempo and getting it just right. I think it gets better every day.”
Breana Runnels on her expectations coming into the season…
“I think this season has met my expectations, and of course I want to do more, especially getting into the tournament. We are focused on progressing and being more aggressive, when we are on the road we are trying to get passing, setting, and be stronger away from home.”
Runnels on redshirting her first season as a Ram…
“I was as involved now as I was last year. I was not on the court, but during practice I was getting the swings I needed. This year I am just excited to be on the court and play.”
Courtesy of Fresno State:
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Fresno State fought hard against MW champion and 24th-ranked Colorado State, losing the first two sets by just seven total points, but the Rams ran away in the third set to take a 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-12) win on Wednesday night.
Colorado State (26-3, 16-1 MW), which has been ranked as high as No. 19 in the nation this season and clinched the MW title two weeks ago, improved to 15-3 at home this season and is now 20-0 this year in three-set matches. Fresno State (10-18, 5-11 MW) played its 20thand final match away from Fresno this season.
The Rams and Bulldogs entered the match as the top two blocking teams in the MW and both top-20 in Div. I but the teams combined for just 6.5 blocks on Wednesday. The ‘Dogs were held to only two blocks as Colorado State, which ranks sixth in the nation in hitting percentage, hit .451 on the night. Taylor Slover had nine kills and five digs hitting .318 and Aubrey Folk totaled seven kills to lead the Bulldogs. Madelyn Halteman led the team with 19 assists, eight digs, and three service aces.
How it Happened
The Bulldogs started the first set well, taking a 3-0 lead on three quick kills. The Rams battled back and eventually took as large as an 18-12 lead, but the Bulldogs battled back with a 6-2 run to get within a 20-18 deficit. The Rams hit .487 in the set, however, and overcame five service errors to finish a 25-21 set win.
The Rams jumped to a 13-7 lead in the second set but Fresno State battled back. The ‘Dogs had an 8-3 run to trail just 16-15 and, trailing 19-16, scored three straight points to tie the set at 19-19. After a Colorado State timeout the Rams responded with a 3-0 run and reached set point at 24-21 before a Folk kill extended it. CSU was able to convert its second set point on a kill from Paulina Hougaard-Jensen.
Colorado State took a big lead early in the third set and was able to pull away. After the set was tied 3-3 the Rams went on a 9-1 run to lead 12-4. The home team hit .556 in the third set with 17 kills and just two attack errors while holding the Bulldogs to .091 hitting to take it 25-12 and end the match in three sets.
Head Coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell
On the match: “I hoped we could close the match the way we played in sets one and two. We played them tight and took advantage of some of their errors. For two of the best blocking teams in the conference, neither team blocked many balls. Both teams hit high and found edges, but ultimately, they executed so efficiently offensively and though we served them tough, we couldn’t get in their way. Good effort by us tonight in front of a big crowd on the road.”
On the team: “I? thought Maddy did some nice things for us and competed hard. She served some blistering attacks from the service line. Lauren Torres was steady offensively and when we were able to get her the ball, she scored. Taylor had a nice match as well. She hit really high and found shots to score. And Reagan Leonard started off the match with a few key digs and passes on tough serves. She always goes hard.”
The Bulldogs had four service aces and just one error while the Rams had five aces but 12 service errors, 11 of which came in the first two sets…Senior Jacqueline Hutcheson had six digs on Wednesday and is now just 27 digs shy of 1,000 for her career…Fresno State has 291.5 blocks this season, 24.5 blocks shy of the single season program record.
Fresno State closes the season with a pair of home matches. Seniors Hutcheson and Torres will be honored prior to the ‘Dogs match against Wyoming on Saturday at 1 p.m. The season finale will be Monday, Nov. 20, vs. UNLV at 6 p.m.
“Just the Ticket to Build Our Community” – The Bulldog Scholarship Fund gives Bulldog alumni, fans and friends the opportunity to support Fresno State Athletics and the student-athletes who inspire them. For information about how you can support the Bulldog Scholarship Fund, please visit www.bulldogscholarshipfund.com or call 559-278-7160.