VOLLEYBALL SEASON IS ALMOST HERE! FIRST PRACTICE ON SATURDAY

VOLLEYBALL SEASON IS ALMOST HERE! FIRST PRACTICE ON SATURDAY

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The 2019 Sacramento State volleyball season is on the horizon, and the team, equipped with 10 returners and four starters, will be back on the court for its first official practice on Saturday, Aug. 10.

Head coach Ruben Volta, in his 12th season, will hold preseason practices nearly every day beginning on Saturday, and running through late August. The team's final preseason practice will take place on Aug. 29 in preparation for the season-opening Sacramento State Invitational Aug. 30-31. The Hornets welcome Nevada, CSU Bakersfield and Canisius to the Nest for the two-day tournament.

Last year, Sacramento State finished with a 16-16 overall record and an 11-6 mark in the Big Sky Conference. The Hornets were 10-5 at home, including a 7-1 mark against conference competition. Sacramento State will host two tournaments this season, including the Big Sky's postseason event on Nov. 28-30.

Over the last four years, the Hornets have combined for an 88-45 overall record and 51-14 league mark. Also during that stretch, the team is 31-1 inside the Nest against Big Sky foes.

Among this year's returners are starters at outside hitter (senior Sarah Davis), rightside hitter (junior Cianna Andrews), setter (sophomore Ashtin Olin) and libero (junior Paige Swinney). Olin was a second team all-Big Sky selection as a redshirt freshman. Also returning are outside hitters Macey Hayden and Claudia Wilson, middle blocker Sarah Falk and defensive specialist Paige Calvin. In addition, setter McKenna Smith and outside hitter Kayla Subbert both redshirted last season, and will make their Hornet debuts this year.

Sacramento State will need to compensate for the loss of five players, including outside hitter Mikaela Nocetti as well as middle blockers Lana Brown and Brie Gathright. Nocetti was a first team all-league selection and Brown a second team choice.

The Hornets welcome six new players to the roster, five of which are true freshmen. The team's roster features 16 players, comprised of one senior, four juniors, four sophomores and seven freshmen (five true freshmen, two redshirt freshmen). The roster breaks down to seven players that could see time at outside hitter, four middle blockers, two setters and four defensive specialists.

NOTABLES

• Sacramento State's coaching staff remains the same in 2019, featuring head coach Ruben Volta and assistant coaches Sarah Chlebana and Ed Jackson. All three played for, and graduated, from Sacramento State. Both Volta and Jackson are members of the Sacramento State Men's Volleyball Hall of Fame while Chlebana was a four-year starter and two-time all-conference selection for the women's team from 1997-00. In addition, Lana Brown, who finished her career as a player last year, will be back to help as a student assistant coach.

• The Hornets will host a pair of tournaments this year, including the annual Sacramento State Invitational on Aug. 30-31. That tournament will mark the team's only home matches until Oct. 3. In addition, the Hornets will host the Big Sky Tournament during the Thanksgiving holiday (Nov. 28-30). The winner of the three-day postseason event will receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The conference switched to a predetermined site last year, and Big Sky institutions went through a bid process to host the event. Northern Colorado hosted last year, and the Hornets will host this season. Sacramento State also hosted the event in 2017 after winning the Big Sky's regular season championship.

• The program recorded its 1,000th win last season. Since volleyball became a sport at Sacramento State, the program has compiled a 1,009-465 overall record (.685 winning percentage). That also includes two national championships and 19 conference titles.

• In all, Sacramento State will play 31 regular season matches - 12 at home, 13 on the road and six on neutral floors.

• Sacramento State will play a total of 18 conference matches, and conclude the year with four of six on the road. The last two home contests will take place on Nov. 14 vs. Weber State and Nov. 16 vs. Idaho State. The matchup with Idaho State will be Senior Night. The Hornets will play every team in the conference twice except for Montana (home) and Montana State (away).

• After a one-year hiatus, the Alumni Game is making its return later this month. The game will take place on Saturday, Aug. 24, at 11 a.m. inside the Nest. The game will feature the current roster taking on alumni players.