Expectations are high for Tom Hilbert and Co. yet again. The Mountain West volleyball preseason poll was released Tuesday and to no one’s surprise, Colorado State was picked to win its sixth consecutive league title by the conference’s 11 coaches.
CSU received seven of the league’s 11 first-place votes, totaling 97 points. Right behind them sits New Mexico with 91 points and four first-place votes.
During last week’s media day, Hilbert commented the depth of the Mountain West and how the Lobos may post the biggest threat to the Rams winning a program-record sixth title in a row. The Lobos return six starters including Mountain West Preseason Player of the Year Chantale Riddle, a 2013 AVCA third-team All-American.
Following the Rams and Lobos is Utah State with 81 points. Last season the Rams and Aggies battled to the final points in Moby Arena when the Rams came back from an 0-2 deficit to remain undefeated on the season and earn a program record for wins to start a season.
Finishing out the top half of the preseason poll is last year’s favorite San Diego State with 73 points, rival Wyoming with 55 and Boise State with 54.
A trio of Rams were also named to the preseason All-Mountain West Preseason team Tuesday. Seniors Deedra Foss and Kelsey Snider as well as junior Dri Culbert were named to the team. Foss was a preseason All-MW pick last year and was named the league’s Setter of the Year after averaging a league-best 11.77 assists per set.
Since the Mountain West began in 1999, CSU has won 11 of the 15 regular-season titles and holds a .861 winning percentage against league opponents (198-32). The Rams will begin the season with a double-header against Virginia Commonwealth and UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, Aug. 30 followed by a matchup against Marquette the next day.
Collegian Sports Reporter Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @haleighhamblin.