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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

Volleyball weekend ends with two wins, tears and smiles

Sac State won both conference rematches and honored their seniors
Rinn Lee
Senior middle blocker Kalani Hayes and senior opposite hitter Karlee Soderberg going up for a block against Idaho Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023. Sac State celebrated Senior day against Idaho.

Sac State volleyball played their last two home matches of the season, and they did not disappoint Hornet fans with two wins that totaled only seven sets and an emotional senior night.

Thursday: Sacramento State: 3, Eastern Washington: 1

Sac State controlled most of the match, but Eastern Washington gave them a run for their money in the third set and prevented the Hornets from getting the sweep.

“I thought we attacked really well,” Sac State head coach Ruben Volta said. “I believe we hit for a really high percentage in that first set.”

The first set was a blowout by the Hornets and a demonstration of the team’s growth with Sac State going on a 14-7 run to begin the set. The Hornets hit for a .469 percentage compared to the Eagles’ .139.

Senior outside hitter Caitlin Volkmann ended the first set 25-15, with a kill that was set up by sophomore setter Kate Doorn.

The second set started out 11-9 in favor of the Hornets and was a much more evenly matched set. The Hornets needed their stars to help them to victory.

Senior middle blocker and former Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week Kalani Hayes kept the run going by getting a kill that would launch the Hornets to set point, 24-18.

“It was awesome,” Hayes said in response to her winning DPOW. “I was kind of struggling last week. I wasn’t really happy with how I was playing, so I got that, I just felt proud of myself and got out of my head a bit and just played for my team.”

The Hornets gave the Eagles hope after back-to-back errors, but senior outside hitter Bridgette Smith sealed the set with a kill, 25-21.

Sac State had their eyes on the sweep heading into the third set, but Eastern Washington came out aggressive and gained an 18-9 lead, forcing the Hornet’s offense to go on a run to get back into the set.

Junior outside hitter Ellie Tisko secured a kill that springboarded the Hornets to six consecutive points. The offense dominated the set and the Hornets were in prime position to take the set and the match with a score of 23-21.

Smith served with the intent of going to match point, but Eastern Washington’s senior setter Kate Hatch set the ball up for sophomore middle blocker Tanai Jenkins to get the kill. Just like that, the Eagles got on a roll.

All momentum shifted to Eastern Washington. The Eagles offensive attack became more aggressive and tied the game up 23-23 after a kill by Hatch.

The next play, the Hornets hurt themselves with an error to put the Eagles at set point, and with the fourth ace of the set for the Eagles, the Hornet’s chance at a sweep ended.

“It was disappointing, but we were like, ‘Okay, let’s make them pay for taking us to a fourth,’ and I think we did,” Smith said.

Sac State would go on to control the fourth and final set defensively and offensively. Holding the Eagles to 14 points for the set and the Hornets’ offense going on a five-point run to end the game.

RELATED: Big Sky Conference swept clean by Sac State Volleyball

Saturday: Sacramento State: 3, Idaho: 0

Sac State had an emotional start to their final home game by honoring the seniors before their final match in the Nest.

Opposite hitter Karlee Soderberg, libero Caty Cordano, outside hitter Caitlin Volkmann, middle blocker Tiyanane Kamba-Griffin and Hayes were all honored on senior night before the game with a jersey and flowers.

“They have goals and they work hard and they know they have to play an opponent, so we talked about it beforehand,” Volta said. “We knew there was going to be some emotion, just be ready to go once the whistle blows.”

Early in the first set, it looked like it was going to be close, with the Hornets only leading by one point.

That changed when Hayes ignited the team with a kill that would start a 14-4 run. The Hornets were aided by six Vandal errors during that run to end the set, 25-14.

In the second set, the Vandals continued to make errors, giving the Hornets enough of a boost to take the set.

Though Kamba-Griffin committed a service error that would start a six-point consecutive streak for the Vandals, Sac State was able to hold steady and Smith secured the set with her ninth kill of the match, 25-20.

The third set was a struggle for the Hornets because they caught the error bug from the Vandals.

The Hornets had 12 attacking and serving errors that helped the Vandals gain the majority of their 20 points. With Sac State continuously making errors, it required them to play more relentlessly in order to claw their way to victory.

“I know that we just had really scrappy plays,” Kamba-Griffin said. “I think our scrappy plays are the most fun, people chasing down balls.”

Fortunately for Sac State, Idaho made 10 errors leading to points for the Hornets that balanced out their own miscues.

In fitting fashion, the Hornets committed an attacking error but redeemed themselves with two consecutive scores by Smith and Kamba-Griffin to win the set and match.

Sac State will head to Portland, Oregon on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. for their next match against Portland State.

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About the Contributor
Ryan Lorenz
Ryan Lorenz, Sports Staffer
(he/him) Ryan Lorenz is in his second semester at The State Hornet. He is a former Sports Editor for Cosumnes River College's publication, The Connection. He has a strong passion for sports and plans on having a career in sports media.
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