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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

Sac State volleyball’s stellar season ends against familiar foe

After dominating the first round of the NIVC, the Hornets fall in the second round
Junior+outside+hitter+Ellie+Tisko+goes+up+for+a+kill+against+two+UNLV+blockers+in+the+first+round+of+the+Women%E2%80%99s+National+Invitational+Volleyball+Championship+Thursday%2C+Nov.+30%2C+2023.+The+Hornets+would+go+on+to+win+the+game+3-0%2C+but+lose+in+the+next+round+to+Montana+State.
Malachi Parker
Junior outside hitter Ellie Tisko goes up for a kill against two UNLV blockers in the first round of the Women’s National Invitational Volleyball Championship Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023. The Hornets would go on to win the game 3-0, but lose in the next round to Montana State.

Sac State’s volleyball team played two games in the Women’s National Invitational Volleyball Championship at The Nest, where the seniors played their last game in a Hornet uniform.

Round 1: Sac State: 3 UNLV: 0

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, arrived at The Nest for a beat down from a swarm of angry Hornets on Thursday night.

Starting with their senior libero Caty Cordano, who was flying, diving and sliding for digs in the backcourt, it was apparent the Hornets were playing with frustration and a chip on their shoulder.

“She set the tone tonight,” Sac State head coach Ruben Volta said. “In the first set there were a couple of big hits crosscourt that she just popped up and kept alive.”

Whether it was her diving into the bleachers, saving a kill with her fingertips or running from the other side of the court to save a shanked ball, she made it difficult for the Rebels to score in the backcourt with her 14 digs.

Cordano was a big part of the win defensively, but the Rebels didn’t help themselves with 18 attacking errors and 9 receiving errors.

“One of our main things that we focus on is just serving tough, getting them out of system and I felt like a lot of their miss hits were out of system swings,” junior outside hitter Ellie Tisko said.

Tisko and senior middleblocker Kalani Hayes led the team with 11 kills each.

“It was noticeable how hard our passers were working to get the ball to the net and our setters were working to get us some balls, so it felt so nice,” Hayes said. “The team was really trying their hardest to get us middles involved.”

The only lead change of the game came early in the third set with the Rebels getting a service ace to start the set. The Hornets were able to tie it up at two with a booming kill by Tisko.

The Hornets would not relinquish the lead and would march their way to the second round of the NIVC.

RELATED: A group of stars fall in the Big Sky Tournament



Round 2: Sac State: 1 Montana State: 3

Sac State’s season came to a close in the second round of the NIVC fellow Big Sky opponent, Montana State.

The two teams faced off twice against each other in the regular season and split the series. The Bobcats would make it one step further than the Hornets in the Big Sky Tournament, but both would fall to Weber State.

“It is annoying to get to the postseason and play a team we’ve been playing all year but we wanted some revenge, came in excited, pumped up and just grateful to be on the court again together,” Hayes said.

The Hornets continuously hurt themselves throughout the game, totalling 31 attacking errors, 12 service errors and nine receiving errors.

Any other game, Sac State would have had a dominating performance at the net with 10 blocks, but the Bobcats had an even better game with 16 blocks.

“They were passing really well and that always makes things a little bit more difficult,” senior middleblocker Tiyanane Kamba-Griffin said.

The Hornets started all of their sets playing from behind, which constantly put pressure on them to go on runs to get themselves back in the game.

“The first set was super close and then they kind of took it to us a little bit, so I was happy that we battled back,” Volta said.

They were able to overcome their errors and trailing from behind in the first set, but were unable to do so in the next three.

“We came in on the first day of double days and we knew we wanted to win Big Sky and we said that every single day and that’s what we did,” Kamba-Griffin said. “I think that’s what I will remember most. Our commitment to being really good and trying our hardest every time.”

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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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