Gators volleyball season starts strong

The SF State volleyball team ended their game with a 3-1 win over visiting team Dominican University tonight, matching their win total from the 2016 season.

“I’m not surprised that we played a lot better,” returning player Lauren Williams said. “We have a lot of really great newcomers coming in and we had a really good Fall preseason. We all just instantly connected which is awesome, and I think that is one of the reasons we won.”

Williams played a large part in the win, leading the team in points and kills. She attributed her success to the setters led by Eden Fukushima, who totaled 44 assists. Freshman Jocelyn Rodriguez also starred with 24 digs during the night.

“I needed to prove I could start and I just played the game and my team got me through it,” Rodriguez said. “It only goes up from here. We’re going to take it one game at a time, and I see good results (for the future).”

The Gators got an early lead, taking the first two sets 24-20 and 25-18. The third set is where Dominican players came to life, chanting before every serve.

“A lot of time when you lose the first two sets you have a lot of motivation to come back and win in five because that happens a lot,” Williams said. “So I think that’s one of the reasons because they did not want to lose in three.”

Dominican would take an early lead, winning the third set 23-25 leading by five nearly the entire match until a late comeback attempt by the Gators fell short.

SF State would take the match in the fourth set, ending the set 25-22 to start the season with a big win.

“Winning takes a lot of different things,” Matt Hoffman, head coach of the volleyball team said. “It takes the right people, it takes the right system, it takes good strategy, it takes good execution by them.”

Getting the right people was something the team had trouble with in his first season, according to Hoffman. Hoffman, being hired in April, said he had two months to recruit and he used that extra time to his advantage for this season.

“I just had more time to recruit,” Hoffman said. “The longer you have to recruit the more time you have to see them, the younger you can recruit the better. All the girls that have come in have done a great job and added to what the returners already have.”

The Gators will enjoy the win tonight according to Hoffman and will be on the road to play Notre Dame de Namur Friday, Aug. 1, at 1 p.m.

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