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Sports / Recreation

Unbeaten Rams hope to give Hilbert 600th win

November 6, 2013

Fans can witness a piece of history Saturday night when the CSU volleyball team hosts Nevada hoping to give coach Tom Hilbert his 600th career victory.

CSU coach Tom Hilbert can earn his 600th career win at 7:30 Saturday night when the Rams host Nevada at Moby Arena.The Rams already are having a historic season, reeling off a school-record 22 consecutive wins to start the season and rising to No. 10 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association weekly top 25 poll. They lead the Mountain West by three games with seven matches to play.

Hilbert, in his 25th overall season and 17th at CSU, is hoping to become the 17th active coach to reach 600 wins. Since arriving at CSU in 1997 he has won at least 20 games every year and taken the Rams to the NCAA Tournament every season. In 2010, he became the winningest CSU coach in any sport.

“I didn’t give a second thought to reaching 600 wins when this season started,” Hilbert said. “I try not to think about milestones like this, but at the same time when you hit a number like 600 it makes me look back at my career and realize that I’ve been able to be in my dream career my entire adult life. I’m pretty fortunate.”

Unexpected 2013 success

Hilbert added that this has been one of the most enjoyable seasons. The Rams were not expected to contend for the Mountain West title and, with only a few returning players, were thought to be destined for a difficult season. Instead they have surprised everyone with their play, jumping out to the best start in the storied history of the program.

“Of all of the teams I’ve had, this is the one that is the best at keeping errors down, and the most consistent,” he said. “It isn’t the most talented team I’ve had but they are playing the game so efficiently and so consistently that they simply are not cracking under any condition or circumstance. They are getting the most out of themselves, which is really cool to see. They are nice kids who just go out and play.”

Looking to reach 23-0

While reaching 600 Saturday night isn’t a given, the Rams already have beaten Nevada this season, winning 3-1 in Reno. The Wolfpack enters Saturday night’s game as the only winless (0-12) team in the Mountain West in conference play, and is 2-22 overall.

CSU plans to formally honor Hilbert next week for reaching 600 career wins. In the meantime, he’s focused on winning a fifth consecutive conference title and getting the team prepared for a tougher level of competition at the NCAA Tournament.

Always looking to improve

“We’ll see teams in the NCAAs who are more physical than we are,” he said. “The question becomes, how do we get comfortable playing teams that block us better than the teams we’ve faced? That will be very important for us heading into the tournament.”

Tickets

Tickets for Saturday’s match are available online, by phone (491-7261) or at the gate.