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Sports / Recreation

Rams roll into 18th consecutive NCAA Tournament

November 28, 2012

Coach Tom Hilbert and his senior-laden team face a tough challenge Friday in their first-round match in Florida.

Mountain West player of the year Dana Cranston will lead the Rams on Friday against Purdue.The unprecedented streak of success for the CSU volleyball program continues Friday when the Rams face Purdue in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Tallahassee, Fla.

This is the 18th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance for the Rams – the seventh longest such streak in the nation. The Rams earned their NCAA berth by winning their fourth consecutive Mountain West championship.

Purdue, then Florida State

If the Rams beat Purdue, they will face the winner of the match between host Florida State and Hofstra on Sunday. The winner of that match advances to the Sweet 16.

Purdue (21-10) finished fifth in the Big Ten and is ranked No. 22 in the latest AVCA Coaches Top 25 poll. Florida State (27-3) is ranked No. 12 nationally, while Hofstra (21-13) earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament after winning the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.

"I think it's a good draw," Rams coach Tom Hilbert said. "It's a hard first-round match, but they're all good at this point. We're peaking right now. We're physically good; we're healthy. I've got an experienced team."

Rams on fire

The Rams (21-7) enter the tournament as one of the nation’s hottest teams, winning their final eight matches of the regular season. Plus, they have been tested by a difficult schedule, with nine of their 20 opponents advancing to the NCAA Tournament.

The Rams will be led by their senior trio of Dana Cranston, Megan Plourde and Brieon Paige on the front line. All three were named all-Mountain West earlier this week, with Cranston tabbed as the conference’s player of the year. Sophomore setter Deedra Foss also was named all-conference.

Live streaming available

Friday’s match begins at 2:30 p.m. MST at Florida State’s Tully Gymnasium. Fans can follow the action via live streaming.