Women’s volleyball shifts leadership for upcoming season improvement


Sac State sophomore Sloan Lovett steps in to fill offensive void against Weber State during the 2012 season. 

Satchi Hover

After missing the 2012 Big Sky Conference Tournament by one game, Sacramento State’s volleyball team is looking forward to the 2013 season as they adjust to transitions that took place during the offseason.

With a 12-18 overall record last season, the disappointing results seemed to remove any doubts as the team members said they were motivated more than ever for the upcoming season.

“Certainly our goal is to be in the conference tournament,” said head coach Ruben Volta. “We made a run there at the end, but things didn’t work out.”

However, he said there is plenty to be optimistic about for the new season.

“Every year is kind of a new year, especially when you have a new group of people,” Volta said.

Five freshmen have joined the team and the veteran coach said he likes what he sees out of his new players.

“The incoming freshmen are good players, they come from good programs,” Volta said. “It’s not like they’re totally new to the sport, it’s just a matter of them getting used to playing with their teammates and playing at the place I want them to play at.”

Volta also expressed the importance of maintaining team chemistry with the addition of new players.

“I think (there are) just enough new people to make sure we get on the same page, and get more experience as a group,” Volta said.

Two players who have taken it upon themselves to make sure the team is on the same page are senior rightside hitter Kayla Beal, and senior setter Hannah Hettinga. Both players will serve as co-captains for the 2013 season and each understands the importance of being team leaders.

“We have a very young team so it’s very important for us seniors and upperclassmen that have been here to show the underclassmen what we’re about (and) what our program is about, so just focusing on leadership,” Hettinga said.

Beal agreed and said her and Hettinga have a chemistry that will be important for the team’s success.

“I feel like Hannah and I have both good qualities of being leaders and we’re going to do our best to work together to make sure that this team is together as a whole,” Beal said.

Much like Volta, Beal and Hettinga are excited about playing alongside the freshmen players and have been impressed with their ability to communicate and adapt to their new surroundings since practice has started on Aug. 12.

Hettinga said she has been in awe of the performance and poise of the younger players.

“They’re really doing awesome; I’m really proud of them,” Hettinga said. “They’ve got live arms, good attitudes, they talk a lot, they gel really well with our team (and) they’ve adapted very well to our program.”

Beal said she is not worried about the freshman players finding their footing and believes they have the same desire that the seniors have to win matches.

“We all just have a good group of freshman,” Beal said. “I think we have gelled well so far as a team and it’s just about us trying to continue that and to develop that over the next week before our first competition.”

The new-look team will get its first crack at playing together at the La Salle Invitational in Philadelphia. The two-day tournament begins Aug. 31 and will conclude Sept. 1. The Hornets will play four matches during the course of the tournament.

Satchi Hover can be reached on twitter @SH_Sports