The Albany State Lady Rams are always contenders for the SIAC Volleyball Title.
This week, they have the chance to put themselves back atop the conference at the SIAC Tournament.
ASU will host the tourney over the next three days.
It's a new format this year, which head coach Robert Skinner says will make everyone's road even tougher.
"It's going to be difficult for anyone to just walk through this tournament unscathed," says Skinner.
Instead of the top 12 teams playing as in years past, only the top 8 made this year's field.
Skinner says that just raises the competition level.
"You have to win three, maybe even possibly four games against teams that have been conference contenders for the last couple years," he says. "Everyone's going to get their bumps and bruises in this tournament and the best team will definitely win."
It wasn't long ago the Lady Rams were fixtures as tournament champions, winning nine straight titles in a row from 2001 to 2009.
But the last three years, the Golden Rams have fallen just short as runners-up each time.
Skinner says that's a trend that has weighed on him and the program, and one the Lady Rams are hoping to reverse.
"You start questioning a lot of things you do and questioning your ability to win again," he says. "But each year we've been in the championship game, we've been right there and we just haven't been able to pull it off. So this year it would really be a blessing to be able to win it."
Albany State's first game is Wednesday at 4:00 against LeMoyne-Owen.
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