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CSU volleyball set to begin their conference schedule this weekend

The Mountain West conference has consistently run through Colorado State volleyball in the last decade and this season will be no different.

The Rams have won eight of the last nine conference titles, 14 in total. CSU Coach Tom Hilbert has been responsible for all 14 regular-season titles in his 19 years at the forefront of the Rams’ coaching staff.

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CSU will be eyeing an elusive 15th conference championship, starting on Thurs, Sept. 20 in Reno, Nevada versus the University of Nevada. 

In the Mountain West preseason poll, the Wolfpack were voted to finish in tenth place, only ahead of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The Rams prepare themselves for a new set against the Bearcats. The Rams lost 3-1 at Moby on Sept. 1. (Joshua Contreras | Collegian).

Going into conference play, the Wolfpack has posted a 7-4 record. Thursday’s game will be the home-opener for Nevada as they played five games on the road and six at neutral sites, going a perfect 6-0 at neutral sites. 

Nevada is led by a lone-senior, a plethora of juniors and a few underclassmen. Sophomore outside hitter, Kayla Afoa, is off to a tremendous start to the season. Afoa leads the Wolfpack in kills with 149 and is second in digs and service aces.

After CSU returns from a quick trip to Nevada, they will be back in Moby Arena on Sat, Sept. 22 in their annual Orange Out game versus San Jose State University. The game will pose as another event for CSU’s homecoming festivities.

The Spartans are 5-4 on the season and were picked to finish sixth in the Mountain West preseason rankings. Outside hitter, Fernanda Vido, headlines the Spartans’ attack.

Vido has recorded a team-high 108 kills and 65 digs so far. Earlier this season, at the Hampton Inn & Suites Northern Colorado Classic, Vido was awarded the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Entering this weekend, SJSU and CSU have one common opponent in the University of Northern Colorado. Both the Spartans and Rams swept the Bears in Greeley.

Last season, the Spartans split the season series with the Rams, with their lone win coming in an upset at Spartan Gym. That loss was only the Rams’ third of the season and only loss in conference play. In 2016, the Spartans shocked the Rams as well. Going into this season, they will be looking to make it three straight years with a win over the conference’s powerhouse.

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With four losses this season, the Rams will look towards their conference schedule to get things back on track. But the Rams are vulnerable right now. CSU is still trying to sort out some lineup issues and if the Wolfpack or Spartans wanted to make some noise in the Mountain West this weekend, this is the perfect opportunity.

Unlike previous seasons, the road to a conference title will not be easy for CSU.

Collegian sports reporter Sergio Santistevan can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @TheRealsSergio.

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