Freshman hitters lead Sac State volleyball to victory in home opener

The Hornets swept the Bengals 3-0


Deanna Sanchez

Sac State senior outside hitter Macey Hayden performing a block against Idaho State during the second set of the opening home game against Idaho State at the Nest at Sac State Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. Hayden had 10 digs to go along with six points in the match.

Alec Ramey

The Sacramento State volleyball team (1-1) defeated Idaho State University (1-1) in the season home opener at the Nest on Saturday night, led by freshmen hitters Bridgette Smith and Caitlin Volkmann. 

This victory came after the team split two games away at Northern Arizona, giving them a 2-1 start to  the season.

The Bengals went on a 3-0 run at the start of the first set but Sac State answered with a run of their own to tie the score at five.

The Hornets held a 20-16 lead at the first timeout, which was called by Idaho State. Smith was already leading the team with 5 kills. The Hornets maintained their lead to win the first set 25-18 and take a 1-0 lead.

“I can’t get a kill if I can’t get a pass or a set, and they gave me the great opportunity to do that,” Smith said. 

The second set remained close up until a 13-13 tie before the Bengals took a 4-point lead. The Bengals held onto the lead until momentum shifted in favor of the Hornets, allowing Sac State to come back after trailing 23-24 to take the set 27-25. Smith continued to lead the team with 13 kills.

The Hornets struggled to respond as the Bengals took a 7-2 lead at the beginning of the third set. Idaho State maintained their lead to eventually take it to 18-13, but Sac State went on a 3-0 run to cut the deficit to 18-16. 

At the next timeout, the Hornets trailed in the set 21-18. After this timeout, Sac State came out and took a 22-21 lead. 

Smith continued to lead with 15 kills, while freshman hitter Caitlin Volkmann had 12 kills of her own. The Hornets continued their run to take the set 25-21 to win the third set to clinch the game. Smith and Volkmann finished with 17 and 12 kills respectively.

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“They [Volkmann and Smith] both have really nice arm swings, and they’re really aggressive,” said head coach Ruben Volta. “We’re playing a young roster, and both of them are doing really well. We’re really proud of both of them.” 

Despite leading the team in kills, Smith credited the efforts to “playing as a team and knowing that it takes six people on the court.” 

Both of the freshman hitters said the team helped them face their initial nerves.

“At first I was pretty nervous, but trusting myself and trusting my team, they believe in me knowing that I got this,” Smith said. “I’m here for a reason.” 

“As a freshman, starting on and getting out there, you get the nerves and everything, but the team has always got my back, and it makes me really comfortable,” Volkmann said.

Volta said the team’s 20 errors were too many, and the team would like to address the sloppiness in Sunday’s rematch against Idaho State.