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CSU volleyball schedule released with glaring non-conference schedule

Being a perennial top-25 team does not come with an easy path.

For Colorado State volleyball, the road to their 24th consecutive NCAA tournament will face many challenges, as they usually do. Every year the Rams need to schedule tough to make up for a lackluster conference slate, which they have done again for their 2018 season.

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The Rams will be squaring off with five teams that appeared in the 2017 NCAA tournament, including two that made it to the Sweet 16. Three of those opponents will be teams that the Rams matched up with last year.

To kick off the season, the Rams might have their toughest match all year when they welcome the Illinois Fighting Illini to Moby Arena on Aug. 24. Illinois made it to the Sweet 16 last year, a feat they have accomplished in the tournament eight times in the past 10 years, including a runner-up finish in 2011.

In-state rivalries will be upheld as well when CSU travels to face Northern Colorado on Aug. 28 and heads to Boulder to take on Colorado on Sept. 15 to close out the non-conference schedule. The Rams lost to the Buffs at home for the first time ever under head Tom Hilbert last season and will be facing a CU team that reached the Sweet 16 in 2017.

Tournaments throughout the non-conference slate will be large for the Rams as their second one of the year will feature rematches with TCU and Florida State, a 2017 NCAA tournament team, from last season. CSU beat both of these teams on the road last year and will look to do the same in front of the Moby faithful. Cincinnati will also make the trip to participate in this tournament, taking place Aug. 31-Sept. 2.

Following that, CSU will head to Ann Arbor, Michigan to matchup with the Michigan Wolverines, who the Rams defeated in the first round of the NCAA tournament last year. They will also have a match with LSU, another tournament team from a year ago. These matches will take place Sept.7-8.

And finally, the Rams quest for a 20th conference title will begin Sept. 20 on the road against Nevada. Home rivalry matchups, the Wyoming Cowgirls and Boise State Broncos, will take place on Oct. 11 for BSU and Oct. 30 for Wyoming.

The Rams will play every team twice besides Nevada and the San Jose State Spartans. SJSU was the Rams’ only conference loss last season and there one tilt will be in Moby Arena this year and will be the conference home opener on Sept. 22.  

Collegian sports reporter Austin White can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @ajwrules44

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