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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

Portland State serves Sac State volleyball their second Big Sky loss

The Hornets lost to their conference rival, due to 20 service errors
Scott Larson
Senior middle blocker Tiyanane Kamba-Griffin going up for a block against Portland State’s senior middle blocker Ashleigh Barto, Friday, Nov. 10, 2023. Portland State won the match 3-1.

Sacramento State’s volleyball team suffered their second Big Sky Conference loss against the Portland State Vikings in a game the Hornets will want to forget.

The Hornets invaded Portland State on their senior night and it was clear the Vikings were determined to get a win for their seniors. Sac State played great offensively and made a lot of perfectly timed defensive efforts, but their service errors were their downfall.

“I think they’re a good team, so they attack really well,” Sac State head coach Ruben Volta said. “We have blocked a little more than they block here, and I think we helped them by serving out at some critical times.”

First Set: 25-16 Portland State

The first set was a tone-setter for the rest of the match. The Hornets struggled to build momentum after committing seven errors.

Even with the mistakes, there were still chances early on for the Hornets to take the set. Heading into the media timeout, Sac State was only down by three points, 15-12.

After a service ace, a couple of errors and a kill, the score quickly changed to 19-12, with the Vikings winning at every level and the Hornets looking lost.

“We can’t give another team that many opportunities,” Volta said.

Portland State had two errors throughout the set and was playing at full speed for their seniors.

Second Set: 26-24 Portland State

If they were going to shift the momentum back on their side, the Hornets were going to need to rely on their offense-making plays.

Junior outside hitter Ellie Tisko took over early on in the set and elevated the team to a 14-7 lead.

“After the first set we’re fired up, like ‘Yeah, no, we’re not letting a team do this to us again,’” Tisko said. “That’s really been one of our strengths this year is our ability to fight back and not just go into a hole and worry about that.”

For a moment it looked like the Hornets had returned to form. Tisko, senior outside hitter Bridgette Smith and senior middle blocker Kalani Hayes were firing lasers through blockers’ hands. Meanwhile, senior middle blocker Tiyanane Kamba-Griffin shared blocks with Tisko and the Hornets only committed one error.

Then, Portland State woke back up as they tied the game up 24-24. Cordano had a service error, Volta challenged it, but the officials ruled it out, making it a set point for the Vikings. Smith went for the tying kill, but it was blocked, and the Hornets fell down 2-0 to their rivals.

RELATED: Volleyball weekend ends with two wins, tears and smiles

Third Set: 25-17 Sacramento State

Sac State played their cleanest set of volleyball and with a potent offensive performance by Smith, the Vikings had taken their foot off the gas for the first time this match.

The Hornets were off to their best start of the match, but they had let the Vikings back in the set. Smith made sure the Vikings would not be able to catch up.

A monster stretch from Smith after a timeout had her scoring consecutive kills and a block assisted by Hayes.

Portland State tried to steal the momentum by scoring the next play, but Smith responded with a kill down the line of the court to put the Hornets a point away from 20.

Sac State called a timeout after giving up three consecutive points to the Vikings and guess who showed up after the timeout?

Smith hit a cross-court shot to put the Hornets ahead by four.

Kamba-Griffin would finish the set by launching the ball into a Vikings player’s face, with the ball smacking the ground just as hard.

Tisko would get the final kill and prevent the Hornets from being swept.

Fourth Set: 32-30 Portland State

This set featured a total of 52 points scored, eight lead changes, 18 errors and a whole lot of questions.

Sac State was at set point and looked like they were going to take it to the final set to stay alive in the match. Instead, the Hornets made a service error every time they gained a set point.

The Vikings didn’t want the game to end either, and the set climbed until each team was tied at 30 points.

Vikings junior outside hitter Sophia Meyers put Portland State up by one and the game was once again at match point.

With the ball in the Vikings’ court, junior setter Ella Hartford served and the Hornets were able to retaliate, with Kamba-Griffin hitting the ball into the empty side court for the Hornets to tie the set once again.

Vikings head coach Michael Seemann challenged the call and the Hornets lost over a net violation by Kamba-Griffin.

Although the Hornets’ spirits might be down, there are positives to be taken away from their performance.

“It was just fun to see us be fearless and go for everything and really have each other’s backs,” Kamba-Griffin said. “I feel like we really fought as well and we earned our own points.”

The Hornets’ next game will be played Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, at 6 p.m. at Montana 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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