Volleyball ready for homestand

Paris Prado

Sacramento State women’s volleyball team gets a break from being on the road and will play at home for two weeks. The women are currently 0-4 in conference with 12 matches remaining.

Coach Ruben Volta feels the Hornets are still trying to get comfortable playing at The Nest, a result from having a youthful squad.

In past years, the Hornets have played well at home, but so far the women are 0-6 this year.

“I don’t feel like were playing the kind of volleyball that we’re used to playing at home right now,” Volta said.

The team knows they will have an opportunity to capitalize on their stretch of home games in order to catch up with their tough competitors.

When comparing this year’s conference to last, junior outside hitter Sloan Lovett said this year is offering a lot more competition and she can tell all the teams are playing much harder.

Lovett believes that playing at their home court will be an advantage to improve because they practice on it every day, making it feel more comfortable. The familiarity of their surroundings and the support of the crowd give the team more confidence.

“It’s a total different environment, this is our crowd here for us,” Lovett said.

Last season, Lovett competed in 30 matches, hit .228 and had 361 kills. So far this season the junior is hitting .184 with 204 kills.

The Hornets are currently hitting .120 in the Big Sky Conference. Out of the 12 conference sets the squad has managed 134 kills, 22 blocks and 450 attacks.

“Every team in conference is good competition this year and we need to just prepare ourselves and work our hardest because winning will never come easily,” Lovett said.

Freshman Brigitte Murdock is currently leading her team in conference hitting .500. Other players hitting well in conference are sophomore Kendall LaVine (.308) and junior Sloan Lovett (.228). Lovett also leads her team with a total of 53 kills in conference.

Junior outside hitter Lauren Aikels stated that the comfort ability of being at home will help them in the Big Sky. She said there is a special feeling being on campus and when the women are away they have to adjust and try to replicate that mind frame.

“I just think when you’re away you have to try and create that mental sense of that same mind state,” Aikels said.

Aikels played in 23 matches last year and had a total of 71 kills. In the 18 matches she has played in this year she has already had 68 kills. With the recent changes in the Big Sky, creating a North and South di- vision, Aikels said it has turned up the competition a notch.

“I think that by dividing it into two divisions it has made it even more competitive,” Aikels said.

Playing at The Nest makes sophomore middle blocker LaVine want to defend their program. Last year LaVine played in 26 matches, 58 sets and had a personal total of 44 kills.

“There’s a sense of pride about being here, especially because theres been so much that’s been put into this pro- gram this past couple of years,” LaVine said.

The team feels the energy that the crowd brings at home during long rallies or exciting plays is helpful.

“It’s really awesome when all these other sports teams come and they cheer us on,” LaVine said.

The Hornet’s next home game is 7 p.m. Oct. 9 against Eastern Washington.

The women are currently last in the Southern Division of the Big Sky Conference with Idaho State leading the board at 4-0.