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The MSU Denver is ranked No. 2 in NCAA Division II women

Volleyball team claims No. 1 ranking

MSU Denver is the nation's top-ranked squad for the first time in program history.

October 18, 2021

By Rob White

For the first time ever, the MSU Denver volleyball team is ranked No. 1 in the country for NCAA Division II.

The Roadrunners, who had been ranked No. 2 for the past three weeks, took over the top spot in the American Volleyball Coaches' Association poll released Monday after improving to 16-2 while extending their winning streak to 14 matches last weekend. The Roadrunners are 10-0 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play.

The team received 38 of the 47 first-place votes from poll voters after the previous top-ranked team, Washburn (Kan.) lost on Friday.

Avaline Lai is part of a strong and deep roster that has helped the MSU Denver women
Avaline Lai is part of a strong and deep roster that has helped the MSU Denver women's rise to No. 2 in country in NCAA Division II. Photo by Darral Freund.

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.”

MSU Denver earned a thrilling 3-2 win over then-No. 6 Colorado School of Mines on Saturday that all but assured the Roadrunners' status as the No. 1 team in the nation. Besides No. 6 Mines, the Roadrunners have also won matches this season over teams that last week were ranked No. 4 (Central Missouri), No. 5 (Wayne State, Neb.) and No. 7 (Concordia-St. Paul, Minn.).

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.

RELATED: Set for success

In her sixth season at the helm of the Roadrunners, Glenn is 124-36 overall, including 86-8 in regular-season RMAC matches.

“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."

Fans cheer on the MSU Denver women
Fans cheer on the MSU Denver women's volleyball team during a match on Oct. 1, 2021. Photo by Edward Jacobs, Jr.

MSU Denver is on the road next weekend before returning home.

On the Oct. 28, the Roadrunners play host to Colorado Christian at 7 p.m. and it is Faculty & Staff Appreciation Night, with all faculty and staff admitted free. On Oct 29, MSU Denver plays host to Regis – which is currently receiving votes for the Top 25 and tied for second in the RMAC – at 7 p.m.

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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