Team prepares for turnaround

Senior Brittany Ferguson spikes the ball during the 3-2 win over Weber State in the Hornets nest Oct. 4.:


Senior Brittany Ferguson spikes the ball during the 3-2 win over Weber State in the Hornet’s nest Oct. 4.:

Amy Lewis

The month of September has not been kind to the Sacramento State women’s volleyball team. Being away from home has taken a toll on the relatively young team.

The team has lost all 12 matches it played in September. The Hornets’ 4-14 record is the worst start in team history. The team is also 2-2 in the Big Sky for the first time since joining the league.

The team has been on the road for the last nine matches, all of which it have lost. The team is encouraged by the prospect of playing at Sac State for the next few conference matches.

“I think I’m still optimistic,” coach Ruben Volta said. “We’re finally home. It’s much tougher to play on the road.”

The Hornets may have lost 14 of their first 16 matches, but there is still a little over half of the season left to go. The team has some areas of the game that need improving to make up for the beginning of the season. Coach Volta has mentioned working on serve receive earlier this year, and also brought up the fact that the team had a lot of attack errors.

This year brings in many new players. Nine underclassmen, six being freshmen, make up this year’s roster. Six of the underclassmen have started matches. The Hornets have lost seven players since last year, four were starters. There are only two seniors on the team that receive playing time.

Rose Burke, a senior who sets for the Hornets, was positive about the rest of the season.

“We have a lot of young people. They are going to be really great and help carry on the Sac State tradition.”

The tradition she talks about is an impressive one. Since winning the Division II National Championship in 1981, the team’s record has been outstanding. The Hornet volleyball team has won the Big Sky Conference Championship for the last 11 years straight. It have also won at least 20 matches every season for the past 13 seasons – a streak which will not continue this year. Before this year, the Hornets’ longest losing streak had been a mere seven games. The team was also Division III National Runner-up in 1979 and Division II National Runner-up in 1989. The women’s volleyball team has won more Conference Championships than any other Hornet sport.

Knowing that this season may not be like seasons in the past, the Hornets must remain hopeful for the rest of their matches. “It’s hard,” Burke said of this season’s record. “It’s been hard for all of us. We are working hard and trying to change it.”

Coach Volta thinks his team’s spirits remain high. “I feel like they are still committed to working hard. They are approaching the game with the right attitude.”

The team is working to overcome some of its difficulties. However, some problems are unavoidable. The Hornets have sustained two substantial injuries this season. Both of the injured players were incoming freshmen. Shannon Wilson, a middle hitter for the Hornets, has had to sit out because of a foot injury. Cayti Crowton, an outside hitter, had a torn abdominal muscle which prevented her from playing in most of the matches so far.

“It affects us immensely in so many ways,” said Volta about his players being hurt. “It gets tough to scrimmage at practice when you have injuries.”

Burke admitted that the team needed to work on some things to make this season turn around. She made a point that the team needs to play consistently during the entire match.

The team’s goals are still set high as the middle of the season approaches. Burke said that its main goal was still to make it to the Big Sky Tournament. A smaller goal was “to get better with every match.”

The Hornets have five home games in October, all of which are Big Sky Conference games. If the Hornets intend to make it the Big Sky tournament then these next few games will be crucial. Sac State plays Montana and Montana state this weekend at home on Friday and Saturday at 7p.m. (both nights).

Amy Lewis can be reached at [email protected]