Sac State volleyball takes their first Big Sky Conference win at home against Southern Utah

Hornets sweep Southern Utah in strong performance


Tony Rodriguez

Senior middle blocker Cianna Andrews (2) flicks the ball over the net in an attempt to score against Southern Utah on Saturday, Oct. 9 2021. Andrews finished with four kills and six blocks in the win against the Thunderbirds.

Tony Rodriguez

Sac State women’s volleyball won its match in a sweep against Southern Utah on Saturday.

The Hornets came off a three-set sweep last game in a loss against Northern Arizona at home on Thursday. The win against Southern Utah featured some intense sets from both sides. The win evened Sac State’s Big Sky Conference record at 3-3 and  gave them an 8-8 overall record including preseason.. 

“We played better and passed better,” said head coach Ruben Volta. “It made the game easier for ourselves, and we hit a lot less balls out of bounds.”

In the first set, Southern Utah started strong and was able to take the first lead, capitalizing on the Hornets attack errors. Sacramento had five errors in the first set and Southern Utah had eight. 

Middle blockers senior Cianna Andrews and sophomore Karlee Soderberg were able to get an important block to tie the game at 12-12. Sacramento’s defense was able to hold strong against the Thunderbirds and win the first set 25-21.

Sophomore outside hitters Soderberg and Bridgette Smith led the Hornets in the set with three kills apiece. The Hornets also out-dug Southern Utah 17 to 15.

The second set was a close one, but the Hornets were still able to finish on top. Sac State’s front line made it difficult for Southern Utah with their relentlessness to challenge at the net. There were six lead changes in the set. Sac State took the second set 25-22.

“We started creating a lot of opportunities to score,” Volta said. “We really fed off of our blocking.”

Sacramento had six blocks in the first two sets. The Hornets junior middle blocker Tiyanane Kamba-Griffin came off the bench with a .500 hit percentage with five kills on 10 attempts with no errors.

Sacramento led the majority of the third set and closed the match in a sweep. Sac State’s defense and passing allowed them to keep Southern Utah’s hitters under control. Southern Utah rallied back towards the end of the third set and nearly forced a comeback but fell short. Sac State took  the last set 25-22.

“I think having a mindset that you want those first couple points,” Kamba-Griffin said when asked what aided the team’s victory. “We were playing to win, not playing to play.”

Smith finished the match with 18 kills, three blocks and a .300 hit percentage. Kamba-Griffin came off the bench and provided the Hornets eight kills and a .533 hit percentage. Senior defensive specialist Michelle Taynton had 17 digs for her team. The Hornets maintained a .282 hit percentage overall while limiting Southern Utah to a .130 hit percentage. The Hornets recorded 50 kills, 62 digs and 10 blocks in the win.

Raegen Ashby, junior middle hitter for Southern Utah, led her team with nine kills and three blocks in the match. Southern Utah’s record drops to 1-5 in the Big Sky Conference and 5-13 overall on the season. 

“Today we were really engaged as a team,” Andrews said. “I felt like we were all connected. Our mentality changed, we were not dwelling on our mistakes. We were worrying about the team.”

The Hornets  will go on the road next week with two away matches in Montana.

They will play Montana State on Thursday, Oct. 14, at 6 p.m. and the Montana Grizzlies on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m.