The State Hornet

Packers, Chiefs pick up Hornet seniors after NFL draft day

State Hornet Staff

April 30, 2013

Former Sacramento State football tight end T.J. Knowles and defensive back Ryan McMahon will get a chance to play professional football.Although neither was selected this past weekend during the NFL Draft, Knowles and McMahon were invited to the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers mini camps, respect...

Necessary roughness

State Hornet

November 6, 2012

Russell PrestonWhile most fans would assume Sacramento State’s fall sport with the largest fan base, in the largest venue, gathering the most attention would be poised for the most success in 2012 (I’m looking at you, football), the sport with the real threat for a conference title should be women’s volleyball.After finishing the 2011 season with an overall record of 17-15 and a 10-6 Big Sky conference record, finishing third for the Hornets was a step in the right direction after failing to finish above fifth place since 2007.Women’s volleyball has been one of the strengths of Sac State’s athletic program in the last 15 years. Since joining the Big Sky Conference in 1996, Sac State has made the Div. 1 NCAA tournament 10 times (six more than any other member of their conference).Last year, under the leadership of Head Coach Ruben Volta, the team was one of the best in the conference when it came to home-court advantage (8-5 record). In fact, since 1996 the team has posted a 175-48 record on its home court.What made them so good last year was their team defense. In 2011, the team was ninth in the nation in digs per set (18.39) and 13th in blocks per set (2.76). They were the only team in the nation to rank in the top 35 in both categories.As for the offense, they finished in the bottom half of the Big Sky conference in kills per set (11.93) and hitting percentage (.171). With Coach Volta implementing a new 6-2 offense, it will allow the setter to stay in the back while three attackers up front can get aggressive.Although the team lost four of its top players to graduation last spring, there are still doses of optimism with the nine returning players and six newcomers (including two transfer students coming from Div. 1 teams).It’ll be interesting how the team chemistry develops, but rest assured, this team will be competing for another Big Sky conference title in 2012.Russell Preston can be reached at asports@statehornet.com.Jillian KwellerFall sports are under way and the Sacramento State women’s soccer team has the most potential and promise to take home a conference championship.After missing the Big Sky conference championships by two places last season, women’s soccer is back with a 30-player roster and the intensity to win.The women of Hornet soccer have already shown improvements by winning the first game of the season to University of Nevada Reno, which they lost to last year by a score of 2-1.The players have the agility, strength and endurance to beat every team in the conference as long as they stay consistent, which should not be too hard considering the lengthy roster.The depth in the roster will allow the players more efficient playing time. If someone is winded and needs a break, the bench is full of fresh bodies to put on the field.To make the long list of players even more impressive, nine of them are incoming freshman, meaning they are younger, fresher and less injured.One of the freshmen is Hannah Gendron, a goalkeeper out of Davis. She is replacing 2011 senior Savannah Abercrombie, who gave up 22 goals during the last season.Gendron gave up only six goals during her varsity season last year in high school and not one goal her 2010 26-game junior varsity season.Senior forward and team captain Jordan Carlberg will also be a huge contribution to the team this year by looking at last season’s records. She led the team in shots and shots on goal, was second in assists, third in points and fourth in goals.Overall, Sac State women’s soccer is secure with a variety of diverse players and will be a dominant force in the Big Sky conference this 2012 season.Jillian Kweller can be reached at asports@statehornet.com.James Heck The 2011 Sacramento State football team finished with a 4-7 record, but there are reasons to believe a winning season is around the corner. Regardless of the team’s record the previous year, it can adopt a winning mentality if they focus on becoming better today than they were yesterday.At the start of training camp, there were more than 40 new players vying for a spot on the 2012 Sac State football team.With the addition of new players comes the question of how they will mesh with the returning members of the team. Football is a team sport, one composed of three facets: offense, defense and special teams.After losing team leaders such as quarterback Jeff Fleming to graduation, some may view the abundance of new players as a question in regards to building team chemistry and cohesion.Perhaps it is this new element that will spark a surge in production.After all, the team is led by Marshall Sperbeck, the sixth-year head coach who led the Hornets to a stunning 29-28 win over the Oregon State Beavers last season. This win marked the first against a Football Bowl Subdivision team in 11 attempts, arguably making it the Hornets’ biggest victory in school history.The overtime victory against Oregon State gained nationwide attention, and the sense of pride and hope that resulted should be remembered and carried over into this season.Last season, the Hornets lost three games by seven or fewer points. If the team can work out the kinks of last season, there is reason to believe they can be a winning team this season.A fuel to light their fire could come from the recent preseason polls released predicting their success, or lack thereof. The Hornets were picked to finish ninth in the Big Sky Conference by the coaches and 10th by the media.For the players on the football team, a sense of “us against the world” would certainly be an acceptable feeling. And it is this feeling that has often lifted teams out of seeming obscurity and into the spotlight.James Heck can be reached at asports@statehornet.com.