By Rob White
Buzz is building around Metropolitan State University of Denver’s nationally ranked women’s volleyball team.
Ranked second in NCAA Division II and riding a 12-match winning streak, the Roadrunners are preparing for their biggest home match in years as they take on sixth-ranked Colorado School of Mines on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Auraria PE/Event Center.
The Roadrunners are 14-2 overall and 8-0 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play. The No. 2 ranking matches the highest in program history. MSU Denver was last ranked No. 2 in 2003.
Coach Jenny Glenn says the excitement around the team after last year’s Covid-disrupted season has been “a little bit a shock for the system” – but in a good way.
“Being back on campus, it’s been a completely different experience,” she said. “It’s been great to have the excitement back in the gym.”
A few weeks ago when the team rallied to beat Colorado Mesa in its homecoming game, the atmosphere was electric. “The gym was rocking, and fans were so excited,” Glenn said.
In addition to fan support, the Roadrunners are getting a boost from a beefed-up roster – also a result of last year’s shortened season. Four seniors on last season’s roster were allowed to return this year for a fifth year of eligibility.
“We’re 19 strong – the biggest roster we’ve had,” Glenn said. “We’ve got a lot more depth than we’ve had in past years and people we can call on in different situations.”
Success is nothing new for the MSU Denver volleyball program, one of just four NCAA Division II schools to reach all 20 NCAA Tournaments since 2000. Only four current Division II schools have made more postseason appearances than MSU Denver’s 27.
In her sixth season at the helm of the Roadrunners, Glenn is 122-36 overall, including 84-8 in regular-season RMAC matches.
Before the showdown against Mines, MSU Denver will take on Chadron State on Friday. This week’s matches follow a two-match road trip last weekend when the Roadrunners swept Black Hills State and South Dakota Mines.
“Each week, we have very specific goals that we want to accomplish from a big-picture perspective from our side of the net,” Glenn said. “And what we do on our side of the net sets us up for success. Our weekly goals keep (the team) motivated."
The Chadron State matchup, along with two Friday soccer matches, will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Night. MSU Denver will give away Correcaminos (“Roadrunners” in Spanish) T-shirts at the men’s soccer (4:30 p.m. against Colorado Mesa), women’s soccer (7 p.m. against New Mexico Highlands) and volleyball (7 p.m.) contests.
Public-address announcements at all games will be done in Spanish, and some of the video-stream programming will also be done by Spanish-speaking commentators.
Saturday’s volleyball showdown with Mines will celebrate Youth Day, so admission is free for ages 18 and under.
As always, MSU Denver students are admitted free to all home sports events with their MSU Denver student identification.
John Arnold contributed to this report.
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