Sacramento State sand volleyball concluded its third season in April, finishing 6-8.
The sand volleyball season is nearly a month long, starting in the beginning of March and ending at the start of April.
This season the Hornets had no seniors on their team and all players will return next season. The team has three juniors, five sophomores and six freshmen.
The Hornets started their season off rough as they lost 5-0 to Stanford University and UC Berkeley. They were able to pick up a few wins early in the season against University of San Francisco and San Jose State.
As the season went on, the Hornets progressed and improved their play on the sand, resulting in three straight wins at the end of the season against Cal, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Boise State.
Junior Sloan Lovett says sand can be a challenge to get used to playing on, but as the season went on, it became easier to play.
“It takes a little bit of time to get used to the sand volleyball game, and in practices we did a lot of technical work, and I think just every day we were putting in all our effort and motivation, [which] really made us a better team,” Lovett said.
Lovett said her favorite memory from this season was beating Boise State.
Co-head coach Jason Borchin believes the youth of the team and inexperience on the sand was the reason they progressed so much throughout the season.
“I think it’s just the youth, a lot of the kids haven’t played a ton of sand volleyball so just after two months of experience, they started to understand the concept a little better, and that started to show with the wins at the end of the season,” Borchin said.
Lovett said this season her teammates worked well together and learned the concept of playing sand volleyball.
“It turned out to be a pretty successful season,” Lovett said. “I think by the end we were all playing really well with our partners and we had a good perspective on how sand volleyball works.”
Despite their tough losses at the start of the season, the Hornets were always ready to play.
Sophomore Lexie Skalbeck was proud of her team for always being prepared.
“I felt like we were all always ready to play,” Skalbeck said. “Only 10 girls got to really play each match, and I felt our whole team was always ready to play; always willing and able to jump in whenever they need to and be successful.”
This 2015 season was the most successful and had the most wins recorded in a season for Sac State since they added sand volleyball as a sport three years ago. Their first season in 2013 they finished 2-6; in 2014 they finished 3-9.
This season was a learning experience and Skalbeck will take away how hard work is rewarding and how much fun she had throughout the season.
“I’ll take away personally how much fun I had with my partner Shannon and just the feeling of just working so hard and winning and just how good that felt,” Skalbeck said.
These past three seasons the NCAA considered sand volleyball as an emerging sport, but as for the 2016 season, sand volleyball will fully be part of the NCAA.
Sac State sand volleyball won’t have much change for their preparation for next season, but Borchin hopes to have an on-campus sand volleyball facility.
“We’re not going to change too much of what we do and how we train,” Borchin said. “We are hoping to get a facility built on campus and when that happens hopefully we can train a little bit more.”
The plan for next season is to be successful and be the best team they can be.
“Come out strong again and be ready and know what worked, just basically knowing the feeling of how hard we have to work to be successful and win,” Skalbeck said.