Volleyball digs for a cure, comes up with win

Every October, collegiate athletes nationwide put their own school colors to the side, and don pink gear in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

SF State volleyball is no stranger to the growing movement: the Gators hosted their annual Dig for a Cure match Saturday night at The Swamp, sporting pink warm-ups and matching headbands to raise awareness among their fan base.

Perhaps pink is the Gators’ lucky color. They defeated CCAA opponent Cal State Stanislaus in four sets and clinched their first home victory of the season a night after being swept by Chico State on their own court.

“I think, especially after last night’s loss, we came in angry and we knew that we had to come together as a team in order to come out with a victory,” said outside hitter Kelly Ostello. “We also wanted to do it for our fans, because we hadn’t gotten a win at home yet, and that’s rough for them. So we came out with a lot of energy, really aggressive and ready to play.”

The Gators jumped on the Warriors right away in the first set, taking an early lead off a kill from Jazmine Williams and a service ace from Melissa Horton. SF State then maintained a double-digit lead for most of the set, due largely to a season-high team hitting percentage of .53.  The Gators went on to win it, 25-10, as well as the next set, 25-19.

Cal State Stanislaus picked up its pace in the third set. Outside hitters Blair Ehrlich and Jocelyn Cervantes made several big plays that allowed Stanislaus to pull away, 25-23. The visiting bench erupted in cheers when they realized the match would not be a sweep.

But SF State had a 2-1 lead and momentum on their side.

“(Coach) just told us to go out and play hard,” said Meagan Wright, who had a crucial block and kill in the last few moments of the game. “We all knew that we really wanted to win, especially at home, so we came out firing.”

The Warriors never led or tied the score in the fourth set, although they attempted to rally several times. It looked like the first set all over again, and SF State coasted to a 25-17 victory.

Overall, the Gators outscored the Warriors 70 to 30. Setter Jacquie Brice recorded a double-double with 48 assists and 13 digs, and three other players, Kelly Ostello, Meagan Wright, and Jaclyn Clark, had a team-high 11 kills.

SF State has won three of their last four games and hopes to keep the streak going as they face three CCAA opponents this week: nationally-ranked Sonoma State, Humboldt State, and Cal Poly Pomona.

“We have a three-match week coming up, which is always tough,” said head coach Jill Muhe. “But we hope to take the lessons we learned from this weekend and build on them this coming week.”