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CSU volleyball coach Tom Hilbert wants sellout crowd for No. 2 UCLA

It’s not everyday you get the chance to play the defending national champions on your home court.

On Saturday night, the CSU volleyball team will get the opportunity when UCLA visits Fort Collins.

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CSU coach Tom Hilbert and his players are calling out to the CSU community for as much support possible going into this weekend.

“Playing at home is always ideal. We always seem to bring in good crowds that show great support for us. I really hope that everybody does their best to be here for it,” Hilbert said. “The football team is playing away at San Jose State this weekend, so there is no reason why we shouldn’t have a record crowd Saturday.”

CSU has remained undefeated at Moby this year, posting up an impressive 7-0 home record.

“We owe a lot to our fans that come out for the matches. The Nebraska game last year would never have been possible if it weren’t for everyone that showed up, we really need that Moby magic,” said senior middle blocker Brieon Paige. “We want as many people here Saturday, let’s sell it out.”

UCLA moved up to No. 2 in the nation in the American Volleyball Coaches’ Association poll Monday. If CSU were to win Saturday’s match, it would be the highest ranked team ever beaten in Moby Arena.

“The Bruins have a fantastic program, and we are honored to have them in our house,” Hilbert said. “It’s not very often that we get a team of this caliber to come around.”

The last time the Rams and Bruins met was in 2000 for an invitational in Gainesville, Fla. CSU defeated top-ranked UCLA in five sets, marking the first time a CSU team had beaten the No. 1 team in the nation in any sport.

“We have to go into this match focused on us, not them,” Paige said. “We don’t worry about them being the best in the country or anything like that. Our team has every chance to come out on top.”

CSU volleyball has spent the entire week preparing specifically for the needs of the UCLA match, hoping to be ready for anything that comes their way.

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“Their outsides hit sharp. We have shifted lots of focus towards blocking and understanding the athleticism of their program,” Paige said. “We hope to keep rolling the way we have to win it.”

CSU is coming off three consecutive wins from the Rams Volleyball Classic this past weekend and hope to use it to their advantage.

“We certainly plan to use our momentum for this one,” Hilbert said. “We are coming off of a full week of practice and starting to feel really good about who we are.”

Volleyball Beat Reporter Quentin Sickafoose can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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