The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor
The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

Sac State volleyball defends the Nest against Montana and Montana State

The Hornets improve to 8-1 in conference play, sit atop Big Sky
Malachi Parker
Senior middle blocker Tiyanane Kamba-Griffin blocks a ball against Montana at The Nest Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023. Kamba-Griffin had a total of six kills and four blocks.

The Sacramento State volleyball team won both games of their homestand to claim sole possession of first place in the Big Sky Conference.

On Thursday, the Hornets beat the Montana Grizzlies and two days later they beat the Montana State Bobcats in a pair of 3-1 victories.

Sac State displayed great energy and capitalized off of runs and errors in both of their wins.

Thursday: Sac State: 3, Montana: 1

Sac State had a sluggish start to the match, losing the first set of the game. The Hornets were able to bounce back and win the last three sets.

Montana came into the first set and was able to score quickly and efficiently, which is something a few teams have done against Sac State’s stout defense this season.

The Hornets couldn’t keep up as the Grizzlies recorded 16 kills on 33 attempts. Grizzlies senior middle blocker Ellie Scherffius had five kills in the set, three of them coming on a 7-1 run. The Grizzlies rode their productive offense to a 25-18 set win.

“I feel like we were letting them control us so I think we tried to switch our mindset and get after it,” senior outside hitter Bridgette Smith said.

The Hornets did just that in the second set. After the set was tied at 10, senior middle blocker Kalani Hayes and senior opposite hitter Karlee Soderberg rose up and double- blocked a shot.

Shortly after, junior outside hitter Ellie Tisko picked up three kills and sophomore setter Kate Doorn got two service aces to spark a 9-0 Hornets run and the Hornets took the set.

The Hornets carried this momentum into the third set where Hayes picked up three kills to start it off.

After only committing eight errors through the first two sets, Montana had seven in the third. Sac State was able to force more errors through their blocking ability. A big reason for this is Sac State’s effective blocking. The Hornets rejected back- to- back Grizzly shot attempts to give them a 20-11 lead that they ran away with.

“There’s no doubt if we start defending and blocking balls it really takes a team’s confidence away,” Sac State head coach Ruben Volta said.

The Grizzlies had a 14-12 lead in the fourth set until Smith responded with three kills in five plays. This turned into a 6-0 Hornets run after a block from senior middle blocker Tiyanane Kamba-Griffin and two service aces from senior defensive specialist Caty Cordano.

Montana was able to narrow the Sac State lead to one, but a small three- point run by Sac State put an end to the comeback.

RELATED: Sac State volleyball serves up two road wins

Saturday: Sac State: 3, Montana State: 1

After beating Montana and claiming sole possession of first place in the Big Sky Conference, Sac State was ready to take on Montana State who entered the match tied for second place.

The first set of this match showed why both teams are ranked at the top of the conference, featuring nine ties and six lead changes. Sac State was able to take the lead after a 7-0 run that consisted of three errors by Montana State.

The Hornets were at set point with a 24-20 lead but the Bobcats gave the Hornets a scare and made it a two point game. A service error by Montana State ended their run and gave Sac State the set win.

Kamba-Griffin made her presence known in the set recording three kills and three blocks. She finished the match with a career-high tying 10 kills and a career-high hitting percentage of .769.

“I feel like I had good focus and my setters were giving me good sets,” Kamba-Griffin said.

The errors kept coming for Montana State as they committed a match-high nine errors in the second set.

In similar fashion to the first set, three Bobcats errors on top of kills from Hayes and Volkmann gave the Hornets the lead, which they held onto, winning the second set.

“When we are playing with a lot of energy, blocking well, and playing defense well, we are really hard to beat,” Volta said.

In the third set, the Hornets built up a seven point lead but the Bobcats were able to battle back and tie the set at 21.

Sac State regained the lead after a kill by Volkmann but it didn’t last long as Montana State picked up four straight points to win the set 25-22.

Despite the comeback loss, the Hornets came into the fourth set on fire and got off to a 14-5 start. Tisko was huge for the Hornets as she recorded six kills in the set.

It was apparent that the Hornets were playing with a ton of energy. Cordano was constantly making plays on the ball with her season high of 23 digs.

After a kill by junior setter Hailey Plugge to put Sac State up by 11 points, Kamba-Griffin subbed out and hyped up the team.

“We get hyped over each other, not even your own play, but someone else’s and building off of that is huge for us,” Tisko said.

Sac State owned the lead until the very end. Tisko closed the set out with her 13th kill of the match to give the Hornets their third win in a row.

The Hornets will travel to Greeley, Colorado to play Northern Colorado on Thursday at 5 p.m.

Donate to The State Hornet
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Sacramento State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Jahson Nahal
Jahson Nahal, Sports Staffer
(he/him) Jahson Nahal is a graduating journalism major who is in his second semester as a sports staffer for The State Hornet. Previously, he was the sports editor for The American River College Current. He hopes to work in the sports media industry one day.
Donate to The State Hornet
Our Goal