SF State handled the Stanislaus State Warriors 3 sets to 1 last night at Cox Stadium, getting their first win since Wednesday, Oct. 6.
The Gators snapped a four-game losing streak in which they only managed to win three total sets.
“We had some tough matches the last four matches against really good competition,” said SF State head coach Matt Hoffman. “I think that prepared us for situations like this, to be in tough moments, and handle them really well. A win like this … it’s a big confidence booster.”
Despite their slump, SF State hung on to the final postseason spot in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) North Division. Ending their rut was essential to keep their spot and not drop out of the playoff race.
Tuesday’s win preserves the fourth place in the CCAA North Division for the Gators. Even with a win over the third-place Warriors, they have a bit of climbing to do in the division.
The Gators started out the first set fast, jumping to a 5-1 lead. The Warriors would eventually start cutting into the deficit throughout the set, but SF State was never in danger, cruising to a 25-16 set win.
Senior right-side hitter Olivia Tabron led the set for the Gators with five points. Tabron finished the game with 13 kills for the Gators.
“I think we just had like, a fire under us, and we knew that we had to win this game,” Tabron said.
Stanislaus State struck first in the nail-biting second set, and nursed their lead until the Gators overtook them 11-10. The Warriors came back to take the lead and extended it to five points, leading 15-20.
SF State roared back to get within two of the Warriors on the game point, but Stanislaus State hung on to win the set 22-25. Gators’ positioning mistakes and errors gave the Warriors some crucial points.
“I think that they came out and they played good, and fought back,” Tabron said. “And I think the second set, we weren’t really expecting that.”
The third set went back and forth between the Warriors and the Gators fighting for the lead. SF State got their 21st point off a long, contested rally, holding on to a three-point lead. The Gators went on to win the set by four, 25-21, after a kill by junior middle hitter Bailey Johnson.
SF State came out on top, winning the fourth set 25-21 for a victorious return to the Swamp.
“We really needed this one under our belt, because this is gonna help us progress to Saturday,” said senior defensive specialist and team captain Vanessa Ditz. “We only have a couple games left, and as seniors, this is our last run here. So we’re just trying to push for the best right now.”
SF State will look to continue their CCAA climb this Saturday, when they host Cal State Monterey Bay. The Otters are currently 15-6 and riding a nine-game winning streak. The 7 p.m. game will also be for the Gator’s senior night and Dig for a Cure night.