Ruben Volta completed his eighth season as head coach at Sacramento State in 2015. He took over the head coaching duties in 2008 after longtime coach Debby Colberg announced her retirement.
Volta was named the 2015 Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year after guiding the program to a 26-7 overall record and a 12-4 mark in the league. Despite Sacramento State being picked 10th out of 12 teams in the Big Sky’s preseason coaches poll, the Hornets finished the regular season with the third best conference record. Moreover, Sacramento State made an 18-win improvement over the 2014 season with nearly the same roster.
The 2015 Hornets, who posted their most wins since 2007, had two winning streaks of at least eight matches long and were taken to five sets just twice all season. The Hornets were 11-1 at home, and one of only two teams in the Big Sky to finish conference play with a perfect 8-0 record on the home floor. Sacramento State finished the regular season first in the Big Sky in hitting percentage (.263), kills (14.26 per set) and assists (13.09 per set), second in aces (1.66 per set) and third in digs (15.74 per set).
Not only did the Hornets improve their overall record by 18 wins, the team also quadrupled its conference win total from the previous year. In addition, after finishing 2014 ranked 280th in the NCAA RPI ratings, the team jumped all the way up to 78th in the final 2015 report. Sacramento State’s hitting percentage of .256 was the best mark in 20 years and the second best mark in the program’s Div. I era (1991-pres.).
The Hornets’ winning percentage of .788 was the 25th best mark in the nation, and, statistically, the team ranked among the nation’s top 40 teams in aces per set (16th; 1.66), kills per set (32nd) and hitting percentage (36th).
Not only is Volta the indoor coach, he was also instrumental in Sacramento State adding beach volleyball to its roster of sports in the spring of 2013. He currently serves as the co-head coach for a beach squad that boasts four wins over Cal during its first three years as a program.
Volta has been a member of the Sacramento State indoor coaching staff a combined 16 years, including one year as the associate head coach (2007), five years as an assistant (2002-06), and two seasons as a volunteer assistant (2000-01).
During Volta’s 16-year tenure with the program, Sacramento State has combined for a 317-198 overall record (.616 winning percentage), a 164-90 mark (.646) in the Big Sky Conference, seven Big Sky Tournament championships, five regular season conference titles and seven NCAA Tournament appearances.
Also during that 16-year span, Sacramento State players have combined for 73 all-academic selections, 50 all-conference awards (including 16 first team selections), three MVPs and four all-Pacific Region selections. One of those all-region players was outside hitter Lauren Kissell, who earned the prize in 2015 after averaging 4.12 kills per set to go along with a .305 hitting percentage.
In addition, over the last 13 years, and every season of Volta’s head coaching tenure, the Hornets have had at least three Big Sky all-academic selections each year, including a program-best eight in 2008. Eight Hornets will enter the 2016 beach volleyball season with overall grade point averages above a 3.0.
Volta’s players graduate as well. Of the 21 student-athletes that have expired their eligibility during Volta’s head coaching tenure, all 21 have graduated.
The Hornets have consistently shown the ability to play well both offensively and defensively under Volta. That includes averages of 14.08 kills, 15.66 digs and 2.29 blocks per set. In 2013, Sacramento State’s hitting percentage tied for the program’s second best mark in the previous 17 years as all six starters hit better than .210. Prior to that, the 2011 and 2012 squads both finished 13th in the nation in blocks while the 2011 team was the only program in the country to rank among the nation’s top 35 squads in both digs per set (9th) and blocks per set (13th).
Also during that 2011 season, Sacramento State went 17-15 overall, including a 10-6 record and third place finish in the conference. The Hornets ranked among the top half of all Div. I teams in the final RPI report, and three Hornets received all-conference accolades. The team concluded the year by winning 12 of its final 18 matches, including a six-match winning streak from Sept. 24-Oct. 8, the longest since the 2007 season.
In 2010, the Hornets played without projected starters at setter and middle hitter all season. In addition, the roster averaged just 19 years of age and Volta started four underclassmen in nearly every match. Despite the injuries, youth and relative inexperience, Sacramento State placed three players on the all-conference team (second teamer Janelle Currey, and honorable mentions Eryn Kirby and Breanne Menees), won 15 matches, and completed the season with a 10-3 record at home.
In 2009, the Hornets improved their overall win total by six from the previous season, finishing with a 16-16 record. Sacramento State beat local rivals Pacific, UC Davis and San Jose State, and had two players selected to the all-conference team. In addition, eleven of the team’s 14 players had overall grade point averages above a 3.0. At the conclusion of the 2009-10 academic year, the volleyball squad’s overall grade point average of 3.30 was the highest among the 20 sports at Sacramento State.
In Volta’s first season as head coach in 2008, he led the program to its 33rd consecutive season with double figures in wins and an 8-8 mark in conference despite losing both starting outside hitters, both starting middle hitters and the starting libero from the previous year. The 2008 squad featured two all-conference performers, and set the program record for most Big Sky all-academic selections in a season with eight.
A graduate of Sacramento State in 1993 with a degree in physical education, Volta played four years for the Hornet men’s club team (1991-93, 1995). He starred for the 1995 squad that went undefeated and won the National Club Championship. That season, Volta earned All-America honors as a setter and was named all-tourney at the Big 10 Tournament. He was inducted into the Sacramento State Men’s Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2009.
In 1995, he opened the High Voltage volleyball facility in Sacramento, and began running a juniors club. In 1997, the club operated 18 juniors teams of different age groups.
In the seven years of High Voltage’s existence, the team qualified for the junior nationals (18-open division) five times, including an 11th-place finish in 1996. The junior nationals include the top 32 teams in the country.
Some of his former club players with High Voltage include past Hornets Sandra Bandimere, Tasman Dwyer, Kazmiera Imrie, Michelle Franz, Jackie Coudert, Brenda Moorlag, Korri Kuelper, Sharon Stutts and Holly Olmsted. In 2006, he coached the Gold Cal (18-under) Juniors club volleyball team to an 11th-place finish at the junior nationals. That team featured former Hornet Anna Schoener.
In the summer of 2008, he was the assistant coach for the 18-under Gold Cal Junior Club team that placed fifth in the American division at the Junior Olympics. That team featured former Hornet middle blocker Kelsey Elston.
He also spent the 2001 season coaching the 18-under Davis club team and spent time as an assistant coach at Rio Americano High School for one season (1999) where he helped guide the Raiders to the Sac-Joaquin Section championship. Prior to that, Volta spent two seasons as the varsity head coach at Country Day High School (1998-99) where the team finished third in the section championships. He started his coaching career at Grant High School in 1992, spending two years as the varsity head coach for the boys and girls teams.
Volta, who resides in Sacramento, also taught physical education at Sacramento’s St. Philomenes School from 1999-2002.