Before the CSU football team’s homecoming game against in-state rival Air Force, Rams volleyball has a big rivalry game of its own: the Border War.
No. 21 Colorado State (13-3, 6-0 MW) hosts Wyoming (15-3, 5-1 MW) at 7 p.m. Tuesday in what figures to be a pivotal Mountain West matchup. While the Rams are the only MW team ranked in the latest AVCA poll, the Cowgirls are the only other team from the conference receiving votes (23).
The Rams are in search of a seventh consecutive MW championship, and Wyoming is the biggest obstacle in their way. CSU head coach Tom Hilbert pointed to Wyoming as one of the main teams on his radar heading into conference play, in part due to the results against common opponents.
Wyoming swept Boise State in three sets just two days before the Broncos were able to push the Rams to the brink in Moby. It took a comeback effort by CSU to steal the match.
Prior to conference play, the Rams were swept in an exhibition match by Shanghai Eastbest & Lansheng. The Cowgirls, on the other hand, were able to push the Shanghai team to five sets. However, Wyoming suffered a defeated in Reno at the hands of the Nevada Wolfpack, whom the Rams recently swept on the road.
While CSU was the overwhelming favorite to win the conference in the preseason coaches’ poll, Wyoming was predicted to finish fourth, and was one of only four teams to receive a first-place vote. Other than the Nevada match, the Cowgirls have lived up to expectations with non-conference wins over recognizable schools such as Ohio State and Utah.
Tuesday’s match could be a major determining factor in the order of finish in the MW. The Border War match begins at 7 p.m. at Moby Arena.
Collegian Sports Editor Emmett McCarthy can be reached by email at email@example.com and on Twitter @emccarthy22.