Hitter reaches landmark despite volleyball loss

Although SF State suffered a defeat against visiting Stanislaus State for the second time this season on Tuesday, it was hitter Jaclyn Clark who made the game memorable by becoming the sixth ever Gator to eclipse the 1,000 dig plateau.

Clark’s ninth dig of the game and 1,000th of her career came in the third set, where SF State won their lone set of the night. For Clark, the stat was both a thrill and a surprise.

Jill Muhe, head coach for SF State Gators, talks to the Gators during the game against Stanislaus State Warriors at the SWAMP in SF State Tuesday, Sept.29. SF Gators lost 1-3. (Qing Huang / Xpress)

Jill Muhe, head coach for SF State Gators, talks to the Gators during the game against Stanislaus State Warriors at the SWAMP in SF State Tuesday, Sept.29. SF Gators lost 1-3. (Qing Huang / Xpress)

“It’s so exciting!” said Clark who also places sixth all-time in career kills and service aces. “Being a hitter, that number of digs means a lot to me. I’m really fortunate to play a little of everything on the court and get to defend other hitters from a hitter’s point of view.”

Her teammate, Jessica Nicerio, who is SF State’s all-time leader in career digs had nothing but admiration towards Clark’s achievement.

“I’m so proud of her!Getting that many [digs] shows what a hard worker Jac is and all the things she does for us besides being a great hitter,” Nicerio said.

In keeping up with the individual achievements, Nicerio added to her record by tallying a season high 27 digs.

According to Coach Muhe, that stat was a product of the team’s positioning.

“Our goal is to funnel [Nicerio] the ball as much as possible,” Muhe said. “Our blockers did a great job of pressing the ball that way. She is a great libero and I would love to see her dig every ball in the game, because she has that skill set.”

In the end, the Gators were unable to deal with a dominating defensive performance from a physically powerful Stanislaus State defense, as described by Muhe.

“Stanislaus is a big, physical team,” Muhe said. “Their blockers take up a lot of space on the net, and their defense covers a lot of space to dig. We had a hard time getting around their size.”

Jaclyn Clark (6), outside hitter for SF State Gators, spikes the ball against Stanislaus State Warriors middle blocker  Taylor Massengale (12), and setter Maddi Seidl (11), during the game at the Swamp in SF State Tuesday, Sept.29. SF Gators lost 1-3. (Qing Huang / Xpress)

Jaclyn Clark (6), outside hitter for SF State Gators, spikes the ball against Stanislaus State Warriors middle blocker
Taylor Massengale (12), and setter Maddi Seidl (11), during the game at the Swamp in SF State Tuesday, Sept.29. SF Gators lost 1-3. (Qing Huang / Xpress)

Despite losing to Stanislaus for second time this season, the team noted that there were some encouraging signs. The team put up a much more satisfying effort this time around, according to Muhe.

“We really battled out there tonight, and our better showing reflected that,” Muhe said.”I was really pleased with the success of our adjustments and also how strong we started the game out.”

Nicerio felt that the adjustment was key in throwing the opposing team off balance.

“The first two games, we were trying to dent the floor and sometimes that just doesn’t work,” Nicerio said. “After that we started hitting, serving and tipping soft which gave us the edge for a while.”

Another silver liningcame for the players who discovered that less emphasis on the individual may be the last piece of the puzzle.

“We need to focus more on the team and less on the individual,” Nicerio said. “And we need to get a sense of urgency.”

The Gators continue their current home-stand with two matchups on Friday, Oct. 2 against California State L.A. and Saturday, Oct. 3 against Cal State Dominguez Hills.

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