The women’s volleyball team started day two of the Route 92 Showdown with another heartbreaking loss to Cal Baptist, but later held on to sweep their second opponent, Notre Dame de Namur.
The Gators finished a hard day on Friday at Cal State East Bay where both their matches went to five-set decisions, only to have another five-set match in the morning with a close loss to the Lancers 14-16 in the fifth.
After winning the first set 29-27 against Cal Baptist, the Gators managed to tie it up 2-2 heading into the fifth set. It seemed as though the victory could go either way with both teams hitting hard and scoring at least 20 points each. The Gators hung on to tie 14-14 but fell in the last few plays, letting the Lancers close it out.
The Gators finished with 68 kills and eight aces, yet couldn’t hold onto the lead letting the Lancers earn their fourth win. Cal Baptist finished with 20 team blocks, 56 kills and only three aces.
The tournament showed positive signs for the future season as the women’s team showed they have potential to play long games and close them out with victories.
Sophomore Kelly Ostello had a great weekend hitting another season high of 23 kills, bringing her weekend total to 64. She’s looking forward to a great season with a new team filled with diverse talents.
“We’re going to win a lot of games this year. We just have to be really disciplined on our defense. We have to stay aggressive throughout the game,” said Ostello. “We’re looking forward to it.”
Freshman Jessica Nicerio added another 24 digs today, adding to her total of 83 this weekend. Playing five games within the last week has been draining but she manages to bring her best to every game.
“It feels amazing! I didn’t play last year because I was redshirting. It just feels so good to be on the court now and get to play,” said Nicerio. “We all worked really hard this weekend.”
The final game of the night was a win for the Gators in a less dramatic fashion, compared to the other five-set games but was a deserving sweep to bring the Gators to a 5-2 record.
The Gators managed to make quick work of the Argonauts sweeping in three sets: 25-11, 25-13 and 25-23.
Co-host Notre Dame de Namur challenged SF State in the final third set but could not contain the Gators. Notre Dame maintained strong hitting by leader Sophomore Brooke DeMiguel and Senior Jennifer Jasper. Jasper is a former SF State volleyball player. Having participated in the 2009 season as a freshman. Both women had a combined 15 kills out of the team’s total of 26.
The Gators finished with 45 kills, seven aces and a strong attack percentage of .333.
Head Coach Michelle Patton is impressed by her team’s dedication to finish preseason with only two losses. She’s relying on them to come into practice ready to work hard everyday.
“We need to learn how to battle a little bit longer in five game matches against tough teams. “When we have an opportunity to take a team out in three, we have to make sure we play at a level that can make that happen,” Patton said. “My job is to keep challenging them but I’m proud of how much work they have put in to get where we are.”
Conference opens this week at home with the Gators taking on Cal State East Bay on Sept. 14. The Gators were able to see them in this weekend’s tournament and are ready for any battle; including five game sets.