It was a night filled with surprises as the CSU volleyball team found out when and where they would be playing in there unprecedented 13 straight NCAA tournament Sunday.
A mixture of emotions consumed the team as it was announced that they were on their way to the University of Michigan and even more shocking, as a 14 seed.
Being sent to Anarbor caught setter Ashley Fornstrom off guard.
“I am a little surprised, but very excited,” the junior said. “We were all sitting here making guesses where we were going to go and I don’t think Michigan was on any ones mind.”
The Rams (22-7) are scheduled to face Illinois State (21-11) in the first round on Friday, December 30. With a victory the Rams will move on the face the winner of Miami (OH) and Michigan the following day.
Outside hitter Jacqueline Davisson could hardly contain her excitement.
“I am stoked out of my mind,” the freshman said. “I couldn’t wait for the brackets to come out because I was so excited for them. We all thought we would be going to either Nebraska or Texas. I can’t wait to get out there.”
Being a 14 seed was the most exciting part of the night for CSU. After losing to Utah in the semi finals of the Mountain West Tournament, the team expected to be much lower.
Head coach Tom Hilbert sees the ranking as a sign that his team is getting proper recognition.
“It is a great honor,” he said. “It just shows that there is some respect for our program and what we did in the middle part of our season. It is awesome and I am very proud of our team.
The Rams will see some familiar faces in their bracket. CSU played both Michigan and Miami (OH) during the regular season, losing to the Wolverines in Hawaii early in the season and defeating the Red Hawks early in September.
Fornstrom still expects a fight, adding every team has changed since they last met.
“It is still going to be a challenge,” she said. “The two teams we have played, we haven’t played since the beginning of the season. Everybody is different at the end of the year. It is going to be a tough bracket, but I think we have a chance.”
Hilbert likes the match ups ahead of his team adding that his team has a good chance to advance.
“This is as close to a winnable regional as we are going to get.”
Volleyball beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org