Hornets eliminated from the Big Sky tournament by Northern Colorado

Sac State volleyball fell 2-3 in the semifinals


Jordan Latimore

(FILE) Sac State junior middle blocker Kalani Hayes and junior outside hitter Caitlin Volkmann attempting to double block a ball at the net Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, against Idaho at The Nest. The Hornets ended their season with an even record of 15-15.

Myla Booth, Volleyball Beat Writer

The Sacramento State volleyball team fell to the University of Northern Colorado 2-3 in Ogden, Utah, Friday in the second round semifinals of the Big Sky tournament, eliminating them from the tournament and ending their season.

Sac State wrapped up the season with 15-15 overall and 10-6 in the Big Sky conference play. This is the third season in a row that the Hornets have finished with 10-6 in league play. 

“I just feel like UNC responded and adapted. I felt like we weren’t pushing back when they started playing better,” junior outside hitter Bridgette Smith said. “I just feel like staying really level headed and confident would’ve changed the game for us.” 

First Set: 25-21 Hornets

Sac State came out hot against Northern Colorado and were already leading 5-0 at the start of the set. 

The Bears continuously made some serving and attacking errors, giving an advantage to the Hornets. 

There were a total of nine ties and two lead changes as the Bears tried to catch up, but Smith served a Hornet ace as the set point. Sac State took the win 25-21 in the first set. 

Second Set: 25-16 Hornets

In the second set, Hornet senior setter Ashtin Olin started it off with a kill as Northern Colorado and Sac State went back and forth with a few ties and lead changes.

The back and forth ended when Olin and senior middle blocker Tiyanane Kamba-Griffin double blocked an attacking ball from the Bears, tying the score. 

“I was really happy with how we started this match,” Sac State head coach Ruben Volta said, “We were really focused and played really hard. Everyone did was a great way to start.”

Sac State continued to respond to attacks from Northern Colorado and played hard. The Hornets were on an 8-0 scoring run as they hustled and attacked balls, going far out-of-bounds. 

The Hornets were leading by eight points making the Bears call a timeout. Even with the break, the Hornets still kept their momentum up and walked away with the second set 25-16. 

Third Set: 25-15 Bears

Northern Colorado came out ready to play in the third set, taking an immediate three point lead. 

Sac State started making a couple of attacking errors and gave away easy points to Northern Colorado. 

The Bears took full control of the set, making it hard for the Hornets to react to some of the attacked balls and offensive plays Northern Colorado had up their sleeve. 

The Bears took the set 25-15 and had six more kills than the Hornets. 

Fourth Set: 25-18 Bears

Sac State and Northern Colorado had a very competitive set, with the stakes set high. The Bears only needed to win one more win to tie set scores and force the Hornets into a fifth set. 

Sac State started off strong, taking the lead until Northern Colorado brought back their energy from the third set. 

There were a total of 12 ties and three lead changes. Sac State and Northern Colorado both made serving, attacking and net violation errors, easily giving advantages to one another. 

The Bears took control finishing this set 25-18. 

Fifth Set: 15-11 Bears

Every point and pass mattered in the tiebreaking fifth set as Sac State and Northern Colorado fought to push into the championship match. 

Sac State was making serving and attack errors automatically giving advantages to Northern Colorado. 

Sac State saw their season conclude as the Bears took the final set 15-11 and the victory of 3-2 in this semifinals match, moving to the championship round. 

“I have to credit Northern Colorado. I thought they came out really well the rest of the match and they didn’t make it easy on us,” Volta said. “We didn’t quite play well in almost every area of the game, so we didn’t serve as well, defense as well, and pass as well.” 

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