Sac State volleyball team loses to Southern Utah following month-long road trip

Senior co-captain Sarah Davis records career-high 28 kills


Leticia Sanchez

Sac State sophomore setter Ashtin Olin sets the ball against Southern Utah Thursday, Oct. 3 at The Nest. The Hornets lost to the Thunderbirds in five sets.

Robyn Dobson

In their first home game since Aug. 31 following a month-long, 12-game road trip, Sacramento State’s volleyball team lost to Southern Utah University 3-2.

The Hornets (6-10, 1-2 Big Sky Conference) were unable to secure a win even after recovering from a 2-0 deficit. 

“Southern Utah did a really nice job serving and it got us really off-balance (on) passing to start out the match, so we weren’t able to attack very well,” said head coach Ruben Volta. 

RELATED: Sac State volleyball team recaps their month spent on the road

Nine lead changes occurred during the first set of the closely contested match. However, Utah (9-6, 2-1 Big Sky) gained momentum and led the set for much of its second half, taking it 25-23. 

Set two saw another slim victory for the Thunderbirds. Sac State led set two 24-21 late in play, creating an opportunity for a set point, however Utah stormed back to win 27-25.

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“We just have to get better, execute better,” Volta said. “We certainly need to pass the ball better and play a little better defense. I thought we recovered pretty well and played really well in the third and fourth sets.”

The Hornets came back out for set three with new energy, taking the lead early on. With 16 kills to the Thunderbirds’ 13 and a team hitting percentage of .371, Sac State took set three by a score of 25-20, forcing a fourth set.

Sac State again came out aggressive in the fourth set, taking down Southern Utah handily. Senior outside hitter Sarah Davis recorded her 25th kill of the night during the set, besting her previous career-best of 24. 

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The Hornets went on to roll over the Thunderbirds 25-16, forcing a decisive fifth set. 

Utah took a 6-4 lead and held it for the remainder of the set, running away with the match. The Hornets dropped set five 15-7, giving Utah the 3-2 match win. 

Despite hitting better and having more kills and digs, Sac State’s passing created a problem for the team, according to Davis and Volta. Utah recorded 14 aces against the Hornets. 

“I think we definitely need to work on passing,” Davis said. “Passing is so important. It’s the main skill in volleyball that helps guide the rest of the play.”

Davis ended the match with a career-high 28 kills and six digs. 

“I think (sophomore setter) Ashtin (Olin) was setting me really well,” Davis said. “She put the ball in a good location and when we were out of system it was really what we needed to end the rally.”

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Junior middle blocker Cianna Andrews recorded 12 kills and seven blocks. Sophomore middle blocker Sarah Falk also put in work for the Hornets, tying her career highs in blocks (6) and kills (8).

“Teams come here with the intention of wanting to kill us and I think we just need to have a better practice and get our mindsets right for Saturday’s game,” Andrews said. 

The Hornets play at home again Saturday at 1:00 p.m. against Northern Arizona University.