The State Hornet

Sac State beach volleyball team prepares for 2019 season

The Hornets fight for better results after finishing the 2018 season with a 4-17 record

Sarah+Davis+attacks+with+no+defensive+block+during+the+team%27s+double+header+against+CSU+Bakersfield+and+Cal+Poly+at+Livermore+Community+Park+in+Folsom%2C+California+on+March+30%2C+2018.+The+teams%E2%80%99+overall+goal+for+the+season+is+to+consistently+play+their+best+volleyball+and+to+improve+last+year%E2%80%99s+4-17+record.
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Sac State beach volleyball team prepares for 2019 season

Sarah Davis attacks with no defensive block during the team's double header against CSU Bakersfield and Cal Poly at Livermore Community Park in Folsom, California on March 30, 2018. The teams’ overall goal for the season is to consistently play their best volleyball and to improve last year’s 4-17 record.

Sarah Davis attacks with no defensive block during the team's double header against CSU Bakersfield and Cal Poly at Livermore Community Park in Folsom, California on March 30, 2018. The teams’ overall goal for the season is to consistently play their best volleyball and to improve last year’s 4-17 record.

Courtesy of Hornet Athletics

Sarah Davis attacks with no defensive block during the team's double header against CSU Bakersfield and Cal Poly at Livermore Community Park in Folsom, California on March 30, 2018. The teams’ overall goal for the season is to consistently play their best volleyball and to improve last year’s 4-17 record.

Courtesy of Hornet Athletics

Courtesy of Hornet Athletics

Sarah Davis attacks with no defensive block during the team's double header against CSU Bakersfield and Cal Poly at Livermore Community Park in Folsom, California on March 30, 2018. The teams’ overall goal for the season is to consistently play their best volleyball and to improve last year’s 4-17 record.

Clarissa Pacheco

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After finishing 2018 with a 4-17 record, Sacramento State’s beach volleyball team is back and hoping to beat last season’s record

Last season, the Hornets lost eight straight matches before clinching their first win against CSU Bakersfield

Coming from an indoor season where the Hornets finished 16-16 overall and 11-6 in the Big West Conference, the transition is not easy, according to co-head coach, Ed Jackson.

“Indoor volleyball can be highly specialized,” Jackson said. “Players will only have to perform a couple of skills, so they might have to hit and block, and for the most part that’ll be what their main role is. Whereas out on the beach, you have to be very versatile. You have to be able to serve, pass, set [and] attack.”

Co-captains Sarah Davis and Mikaela Nocetti add that beach volleyball feels like a new sport to them.

“It’s being able to play smaller volleyball instead of just hitting all the time, because that’s my primary responsibility indoor,” Davis said. “And having only two people on the court — there’s so much more space to cover.”

Nocetti said she feels like indoor and beach volleyball are completely different games.

“Beach is kind of a grueling sport because of the weather, and the sand makes it so difficult to move,” Nocetti said. ”You have to get your feet to the ball because if you try and jump without getting your feet to the ball you will probably go nowhere.”

RELATED: Hornet Volleyball Player Mikaela Nocetti proves vital to team’s success

Because the transition is different, Jackson and the coaching staff make sure to change their workouts to accommodate beach-style play. At the beginning of the season they focus on defensive drills such as over-head digging, and as they season progresses, they focus more on serving and setting.

Nocetti said that conditioning is a big part of beach volleyball, so they also focus on that during their workouts.

“Each spring when we come in, we do a conditioning segment that we don’t always do when we’re indoor,” said Nocetti. “One rally in indoor can not even make you tired, but in beach you’re constantly moving, so practice is typically conditioning for us.”

The Hornets season opener is on March 2 at 11 a.m. and they’ll be playing a double-header against UC Davis for both matches. Due to scheduling conflicts, the UC Davis and Sac State coaching staff decided to play two matches on the same day.

Prior to the season opener, the Hornets participated in a pairs tournament that allowed the coaches and players to get a feel for how the season will be. The tournament is a time for Jackson and co-head coach Ruben Volta to make adjustments to the partnerships that are competing.

Both Jackson and Volta look for chemistry and communication in deciding if the partnerships mesh well on the courts.

Co-captain Davis stated that they are aware that UC Davis’ beach volleyball program is new, so she believes that they will be going through the same struggles as them.

The struggles stem from the fact that Sac State’s volleyball team is primarily an indoor team, like UC Davis. Whereas most of the teams in the beach volleyball conference have one or two pairs that train year-round, according to Jackson.

“There are going to be some challenges that you face when you’re going to play a team that is a year-round beach volleyball team,” said Jackson. “Obviously they’re going to have more experience than you, so that’s going to be a challenge, but we’re the kind of program that doesn’t really make excuses. We still have to find ways to be competitive and to get ourselves playing our best beach volleyball.”

The Hornets will face UC Davis four times throughout the season and Jackson said she believes that they will all be good matches, in part because of the competitive rivalry that the Causeway Classic has brought in the past.

RELATED: Sac State volleyball plays sloppy, falls to UC Davis in four games

Jackson also anticipates close matches against CSU Bakersfield, CSU Northridge and Boise State University.

The teams’ overall goal for the season is to consistently play their best volleyball and to improve last year’s record.

“Last year towards the end of season I made a lot of strides in my beach volleyball skill level, and I want to do that earlier this year,” Davis said. “I want to get better and compete at the highest level that I can.”

The Hornets will host three consecutive matches at Livermore Community Park in Folsom before traveling to Pismo Beach at the end of March where they will face six different schools.

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