Painted faces, student sections filled to capacity and crowd noise loud enough to confuse even the most feared foe.
No, this wasn’t a football or basketball game, but it sure felt like one. Scratch that, it felt even better.
In case you missed it, something truly special happened Saturday night at Moby Arena.
For one hour and 26 minutes, the CSU volleyball team gave a performance for the ages; sweeping the eighth-ranked Florida Gators back to their swamp and most likely out of the top ten national rankings.
It was a big victory to cap off a big weekend, all part of volleyball’s “big year.”
The energy at Moby was purely electric.
Not since the football team’s goal line stand against Utah in 2005 has a home sporting event given me goosebumps.
The official attendance was 4,009, which doesn’t even rank among the top-ten home volleyball crowds of all-time. But according to coach Tom Hilbert, the support for his team Saturday night was at an all-time high.
“That was as big of crowd as we’ve ever had,” Hilbert said. “They were into it, and they felt like they were part of the match.”
If that attendance figure seems to be a bit of an underestimation, it’s because after the first set, it was.
“From the start of the second game on, it just became me sitting there as a fan, literally as a fan, watching my team play,” Hilbert said.
Make that 4,010.
And while we’re counting, make that No. 19; as in the number of consecutive wins at home for the Rams-a streak the team takes immense pride in.
“We were in the locker room and talked about it,” said Mekana Barnes, the conference’s reining player of the year. “When people come into Moby, we want them to have to work for it.”
After a nail biting first set, the visiting Gators seemed to stop working all together.
So for every fair-weather fan that left Hughes at halftime last year, perhaps you should check out a volleyball match if you haven’t.
Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
Although the Florida victory was huge, it will matter little when the Rams begin conference play Thursday at home against Utah, as the Utes are expected to challenge the Rams’ quest to defend their conference title.
And as Saturday night proved, a big home crowd could be the difference.
Plus, it’s pretty refreshing to chant, “I’m proud to be a CSU Ram,” and actually mean it.
The match starts at 7 p.m., so don’t worry, it will be over in plenty of time to go out to Old Town afterwards.
Columnist Sean Star can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.