With the color pink scattered everywhere for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the team beaming with confidence, the women’s volleyball team swept Humboldt State to tie for first place again in conference Friday night.
The players from both teams wore special pink warmup shirts and pink ribbons throughout the entire match for “Dig for a Cure.”
Ranked in last place in conference and plagued with injuries this season, the Humboldt State Lumberjacks were determined to make the Gators work for it.
After sweeping the first two sets and holding the Lumberjacks’ offense to only 17 points each set, the Gators took control of the game with senior Megan Johnson serving three aces to close out the game 25-22.
“What’s great and also nerve-racking about this conference is that anybody can beat anybody,” Johnson said. “This year everyone has a loss. Tomorrow we’re going to come out with a lot more fire.”
Led by seniors Iris Tolenada and Johnson, the Gators posted 41 kills and eight aces. Tolenada and Johnson supplied three aces each with senior Kelsie Brennan putting up two aces to out serve the Lumberjacks 8-2.
Tolenada claimed her 10th double double this season with 37 assists and 12 digs.
The Gators never consider matches against low ranked teams in conference as easy wins.
“We respect all of our opponents,” Tolenada said. “We always have a different game plan for every team. This one, we knew that they were good blockers so we had to really cover and understand where their hitters hit.”
Trailing two sets to zero, Humboldt State heated up in the final set to challenge SF State. With great synchronization, the Lumberjacks chipped away at the score to tie the game seven times. The Gators were outhit .152 to .085 but managed to organize themselves last minute to win the match.
Head coach Michelle Patton believes the team made a few too many offensive errors in the final set but finished nicely.
“We never really know who is going to show up, so we have to prepare no mater what for their best lineup,” Patton said. “Anybody can beat anybody so we talk a lot about just making sure we take care of what we need to take care of.”
SF State takes on visiting Cal Poly Pomona tonight at 7 to finish up the first half of conference. The Broncos are 4-6 in conference this season. Last season, the Broncos shutout the Gators twice.