Hornets def Montana Grizzlies 3-1 in Playoff Quarterfinals – The State Hornet

Sac State Volleyball advances in Big Sky tournament

Adoreil Ayoubgoulan

(FILE) The Sac State women’s volleyball team gathers for a short bout during their game against the Montana Grizzlies on Thursday, October 6, 2022 at The Nest. The Hornets continue Friday’s Big Sky tournament against the University of Northern Colorado.

The Sacramento State volleyball team dominated the University of Montana in Ogden, Utah, 3-1 in the first round of the Big Sky tournament, avoiding elimination with a single loss.

Sac State continues to turn things around and thrive after their loss in the regular season Finals at home against Portland State.

“I feel great. It was a really good game,” said Sac State head coach Ruben Volta. “Montana played really well and obviously forced us to fight really hard. You have to expect that in a conference tournament, so I’m I am very happy that we persevered and played well to the end.”

First set: 19-25 grizzlies

Sac State and Montana both started strong as they went back and forth early in the game.

Montana took the lead after Sac State made service, receiving and attacking errors.

The Grizzlies won the set 25-19 and had one more kill than the Hornets.

Second set: 25-17 hornets

The Grizzlies carried their momentum from the first set into the second as they took a four-point lead until the Hornets called a time-out.

After the Sac State timeout, Ellie Tisko came through with a kill as a sophomore and the Hornets began to rebuild their momentum.

The Hornets closed the game with an ace, followed by senior center blocker Tiyanane Kamba-Griffin, who pulled off a powerful kill and broke the tie.

“I think there was one game where I actually challenged a line call because all of our players thought it was in, so we challenged it and we got that call right,” Volta said. “Then Bridgette returned to serve and served really hard and it got us to a really good shot. I think we gained our confidence from that and got ready for the rest of the game.”

Sac State was on a 9-0 scoring run and took control until the end with a 25-17 win in the second set.

Third set: 25-21 Hornets

Entering the third set, Sac State and Montana were tied 1-1 in set scores. Montana started with a ball handling error, automatically giving Sac State a point.

The Hornets went into the third set knowing they had to carry their energy from the second to get any closer to this match. There were no draws and no leadership changes.

Sac State was in the groove and even leading in blocks at this point, where they were way behind in blocks in the first half compared to Montana.

After a timeout from Montana, senior setter Ashtin Olin blocked a Grizzlies attack and gave the Hornets a 25-21 set point win.

“Bridgette’s service brought a lot of confidence to the team,” Olin said. “I believe in all my teammates and I know we’re all capable of doing amazing things, so that doesn’t surprise me.”

Fourth set: 25-23 hornets

In the last set, the Hornets led 2-1 by set results.

Sac State knew they had to give their all as Montana was willing to do the same and tried to prevent the Hornets from completing their season.

There were 14 draws and 10 lead changes in that hard-fought final set.

The Hornets and Grizzlies displayed strong defense and offense as they both made small mistakes and gave each other slight advantages.

Sac State pushed through the set when Kamba-Griffin finished with a block to give the Hornets a 25-23 win.

“I’ve felt really great and grateful since I’ve lost in the first round for the past few years,” Olin said. “It just feels really good to win the first game of the conference tournament and [break] this curse. We are so capable and so excited to face UNC on Friday.

Player Stats

The Hornets play Northern Colorado in the second round of the Big Sky tournament on Friday afternoon.