Colorado State Ranked No. 25 in AVCA Preseason Poll

Aug. 13, 2012

    • For full AVCA Preseason Top-25 poll, CLICK HERE

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Colorado State volleyball has gained respect from its peers across the country for its success on the court, and for the fifth straight year, CSU will enter the volleyball season ranked in the AVCA Division I Coaches 2012 Preseason Poll. The Rams were tabbed at No. 25, earning 136 total votes.

"We finished the season ranked No. 25, so I think coaches recognized that we return a pretty strong group of players," Head Coach Tom Hilbert said. "It's always good to have respect from your peers."

Voting is conducted by Division-I coaches. The announcement was made Monday afternoon by the AVCA.

Dating back to 1997, Hilbert's first season with the Rams, CSU has been seeded in the preseason top-25 poll 12 times out of 16 years.

"Really, we have to win games to stay in there," Hilbert said. "At 25, if you take a bad loss, you're dropping out. We've got to win solidly in order to stay in, and with our schedule, that's not going to be very easy. On the other hand, we have several matches that will help us advance. You beat a Pepperdine or a Tennessee and you're making a move."

Six of CSU's 2012 opponents also earned recognition, with UCLA, the defending national champion garnering 54 of the 60 first-place votes to claim the top spot. The Bruins will come to Moby Arena on Sept. 15. CSU also hosts Pepperdine--ranked No. 11--and will face Tennessee--No. 15--in the Shocker Volleyball Classic in Wichita, Kansas. BYU, Oklahoma and Wichita State all received votes.

Other poll notables:
• CSU's lowest preseason ranking was No. 10, under former coach Rich Feller, in 1988. Hilbert's lowest preseason ranking came in 2004, when CSU was placed at No. 11 on the list.
• The Rams have been ranked in 15 of the 26 all-time preseason polls, including 12 of 16 under Hilbert. No preseason poll was conducted from 1987-89 and 94-95.
• Twelve of the 14 times CSU has been ranked in the preseason poll, the team has also been ranked in the season's final poll.
• Eight times CSU has finished the season better than where it started.
• The Rams have been ranked in the final poll 15 of 30 seasons since the AVCA created the top-25 poll in 1982. Only 14 teams have been ranked in the final poll more times than CSU. Additionally, CSU has now been ranked a total of 236 times, tied for 14th nationally.
• CSU's best-ever ranking was No. 3, in Oct. 2000. Its best final ranking was No. 6, in 1987. In all, the Rams have been ranked in the top 10 58 total weeks--18th nationally--and have finished the year in the top 10 four times (also 1984, 2000 and 2001).

CSU is coming off a season in which it won the Mountain West regular-season and tournament championships before advancing to the regional quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament. The team finished 2011 ranked No. 25 in the polls after peaking at No. 14 following its defeat of fifth-ranked Nebraska on Sept. 2.

The team will eye its fourth consecutive conference championship in 2012 and the program's 18th straight trip to the postseason. Leading the way will be five returning starters, including four seniors--one of which, Megan Plourde, was a 2011 AVCA All-American.

CSU will begin competition in less than two weeks, opening against the Virginia Cavaliers on Aug. 24, part of the Rams Volleyball Rocky Mountain Invitational. CSU will also host Denver and Rhode Island that weekend.