With most of its conference-champion team returning, the CSU women’s volleyball team will face five NCAA tournament teams next fall, according to a schedule released Friday.
Coach Tom Hilbert’s squad will be looking for its 14th straight bid to the NCAA tournament when it opens play at home with the annual Hilton Classic Aug. 29-30, which will welcome Arkansas, Denver and Eastern Washington to Moby Arena.
“This year’s schedule is one of the most exciting in recent years,” Hilbert said in a statement released by the university. “I have felt for a while that 2008 will be a peak year for us and this schedule reflects that. We have several high-level opponents both on the road and at home, and the Mountain West will be stingier than last year.”
CSU’s non-conference schedule is highlighted by a home match with Florida, who finished last season ranked No. 8 in the county, Sept. 13 as part of a home-and-home series.
“We wanted to create a great home schedule for this year,” Hilbert said. “I think it’s important to play top-quality, out-of-conference competition to test your team and keep them at the top of their game. This particular group wants great competition, especially at home.”
Other non-conference opponents include Pepperdine, Oregon State, Pacific, CU-Boulder, North Carolina and New Mexico State.
Conference play begins Sept. 18 at home against Utah and concludes Nov. 22 at Utah.The Mountain West tournament has been scratched, and the regular season conference champion will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Rams will conclude regular season play Nov. 29 against Virginia Commonwealth on a neutral court in Albuquerque, N.M.