Despite one of the best serving games they’ve played all season, the SF State volleyball team suffered its first home sweep last night at the hands of Sonoma State, ranked No. 2 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.
The Seawolves, undefeated on the road, had the upper hand from the first point to the last. The Gators kept it close in the first set, losing 20-25, but were trounced in the second set, 13-25, sunk by a 9-point Seawolves streak.
“We had times where we were doing things right, everybody was playing together, and then we had times where we just either weren’t being aggressive or technically good. We know how to play, we just let it go for moments,” said middle hitter Halimah Oswald, a senior.
At the beginning of the third set, the team looked and played like they were already defeated. Suddenly, however, they turned it around and eventually claimed the lead for the first time all night.
“I’m really, really proud of the girls and how we fought through that last game,” Oswald said. “We could have just rolled over and let them pound balls at us all day but we didn’t, we fought back which was really good.”
It was a bittersweet set. At the end the team was up 24-21, three points shy of a set victory they needed to keep the match going.
“It was so close and we had so much momentum at one point, but… losing that was kind of more heartbreaking than if they’d rolled over us,” Oswald said.
The highlight of the night was the improvement in the team’s serving, led by Lauren Walsh’s three aces.
“I feel like we picked up our serving a lot in that last game but it still needs to be consistent in the whole match. That’s really honestly what’s going to keep us in these long matches is when we serve well,” Walsh said. “When we do serve well, we’re on it and we take our opponents out of it. That’s a really key thing for us right now.”
The game was the first time the two teams have met this season. The Gators will travel up to Sonoma State for one of its final regular season matches on Nov. 11, giving them plenty of time to prepare.
“A lot happens in two weeks,” coach Michelle Patton said. “We’ll just study what we know about them and try to be better prepared.”
Team setter Iris Tolenada, who consistently contributes with averages around 40 assists per game, was absent from the gym last night. Patton said she was excused to be with her family.
“We missed her a lot,” Oswald said. “I’m glad we did play like that at the end. We showed them that we can put up a fight. We’ll be ready for them when we go there. It should be a good game.”