The CSU volleyball team received good news on Sunday afternoon when it was announced that the Rams will host the first and second round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament beginning Thursday.
Joining the Rams in first and second round action will be Middle Tennessee State, whom CSU will play on Thursday, Northern Colorado and Washington. The UNC Bears and UW Huskies will also face each other Thursday.
“We’re very excited,” said CSU head coach Tom Hilbert. “We play well here (at Moby Arena), we play with a lot of energy, and it also means that our players don’t have to travel or miss class. There are a lot of positives to it.”
The Rams enter NCAA Tournament after dropping their regular season finale against New Mexico State. Hilbert feels that the team has a tough road ahead with the Blue Raiders of MTSU. MTSU advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 2007 after defeating the University of Hawaii at Hawaii in first and second round competition. The Blue Raiders face a similar obstacle this week.
“Middle Tennessee is a very good team, and that’s the first game we have to worry about … They’re very athletic and run a very fast offense. We have three days to prepare for one of the teams who is probably the toughest to prepare for in the country.”
This is Northern Colorado’s first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. The Bears defeated Portland State in the Big Sky Conference Championship on Saturday.
Northern Colorado and Washington will play at 5 p.m. Thursday. CSU and Middle Tennessee State will immediately follow at 7:30 p.m.
The winners of both matches will face each other at 7 p.m. Friday. All games will be played at Moby Arena.
Sports Editor Matt L. Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org_.