CSU sweeps MSU Denver in exhibition contest

The Colorado State volleyball team began its season with an exhibition match against MSU Denver on Wednesday night in the Auraria Event Center. The Rams dominated the preseason exhibition, sweeping the Roadrunners by scores 25-15, 25-22 and 25-13.

“It was good to come down to Denver and play in front of some fans that might not be able to watch us back home," Head coach Tom Hilbert said.  

"It was also good in that we discovered some things that we need to work on before we have our opening match against Illinois. This match exposed some things that we need to work on defensively, like blocking.”

The Rams got off to a quick start by jumping out to a 5-2 lead, before going on a six-point run later in the match to lead 19-12. Following a Roadrunner attack error, CSU finished with a 6-3 run to take the first set, 25-15.

In the second, Colorado State led 15-10 before MSU Denver responded with five-consecutive points to tie the set, 15-15. The Roadrunners kept it close throughout, later tying the set again, 20-20, but the Rams finished strong with kills from Breana Runnels and Paulina Hougaard-Jensen to secure the set and lead the match, 2-0.

“Katie Oleksak distributed the ball very well tonight and was really focused on getting the ball to Breana Runnels and Paulina Hougaard-Jensen. That is one of the reasons they both had really good nights and they are both very talented players," Hilbert said.

"Breana got a little tired as the match went on because it was the ‘Breana Runnels’ show for a while. I really don’t want that to be the case every night though, I’d like to spread it out.”

In the final frame, the Rams started with an 11-2 run which forced MSU Denver to take a timeout. CSU kept its offense rolling through the set with kills from middles Kirstie Hillyer and Hougaard-Jensen, along with outside Runnels to secure the sweep with a 25-13 third set score.

Colorado State will open the regular season on Friday, Aug. 24 with a 7 p.m. home match against the University of Illinois. 

“We have to shore up some things defensively and we have to figure out our primary outside hitter position and how we are going to manage that," Hilbert said. "We have some lineup decisions to make as well.”

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PHOTO: Elliott Jerge | Rocky Mountain Collegian