Volleyball team wins second-to-last game
November 14, 2010 10:31 PM
Throughout SF State's women's volleyball season, head coach Michelle Patton's philosophy has been clear: players must stay composed and make sure that mistakes aren't made when the ball lands at their side of the court.
The Gators adhered to her message as they entered their final games of the regular season and dominated the Cal State Stanislaus Warriors 3-1 at home on Nov. 12.
SF State beat the Warriors 3-2 on Oct. 9 at Turlock. Coming into the game, the Gators were ranked seventh in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, one spot above the Warriors, but they knew their opponent and the match was almost a shutout.
The Gators came out early and never gave up their lead in the first set. They set the ball right and pounded hard against the Warriors' defense.
"They were ready to compete tonight," said head coach Michelle Patton. "We put the strongest team in the beginning. They worked hard and they came out ready to go."
Sophomore outside hitter Lauren Walsh felt that this game was a really good win for the Gators.
"We were definitely ready to come out and just take it," said Walsh, who scored back-to-back points with a serve ace in the first set.
The Gators led by as many as nine points early in the first game, holding Cal State Stanislaus to two points. Although the Warriors were shaky and unable to pick up attacks and serves, they eventually brought the deficit to just two points. Errors, combined with their inability to pick up serves, caused them to fall behind as the Gators rolled through the first game 25-14.
The Gators started the second set with a lead over the Warriors, but the few errors they made helped their opponent take control. The teams battled back and forth with nine tied scores and three lead changes. The Gators had two chances to put the game away and go into halftime 2-0, but the Warriors put a stop to the their plan and pulled out the win 26-28.
"We didn't pass and serve very well at the end of the game," Patton said. "They start making serves and we did not respond with our pass and serve game. That was a huge part of the game."
The Gators emerged from the locker room prepared to add the game to their win column and although the Warriors kept up in the beginning, SF State never lost the lead. The Gators also had 14 of 18 sideouts and only made two errors, finishing the set 25-17.
But the Warriors wouldn't go down without a fight and started the fourth set leading over the Gators for the first time in the match. Ultimately, SF State's middle hitters proved to be too much for Cal State Stanislaus as junior Robyn Hall and sophomore Kelsie Brennan stepped up in two kills back-to-back to help the Gators tied the game 10-10. Brennan also had a big block that changed the momentum in favor for the Gators. By putting defensive pressure on the Warriors and never allowing them to catch up, they won the final set 25-18.
"Defense played a huge part in the whole game," Brennan said. "We did really well with our blocks."
Walsh felt that Brennan's stepping up to blocking helped a lot.
"It changed the game in our favor," Walsh said. "This was a really good win for us. I feel great. We were really gunning for this. I'm happy."
Although the Gators finished last week with one win and one loss at home, the team maintained their 10th place ranking in the NCAA Division II West Region. They must move up to eighth place in order to play in the postseason and a win against the Wildcats will keep their playoff hopes alive.
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