Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

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Fresno State volleyball honors senior Sabbatini in home finale

Senior Lauren Sabbatini spikes the ball in the match against UNLV on Nov. 12, 2022. (Marcos Acosta/ The Collegian)

Before its match on Saturday, the Fresno State women’s volleyball team honored its fifth-year senior Lauren Sabbatini for her time as a Bulldog. 

Sabbatini has been the ultimate leader for the Bulldogs, according to Fresno State Interim Head Coach Abbie Wright.

“At the beginning of the season, she expressed to the younger girls that she wanted them to have as great an experience as she had. She really cares about the growth and development of the program and building it up,” Wright said.

Sabbatini, originally from Hollister, came to Fresno State after a stellar career at San Benito High School where she was named Most Valuable Player of her conference in her senior season. 

“She brings a great intensity to the floor, she is super competitive and wants to win. She has a lot of heart and a lot of fight,” Wright said.

After redshirting her freshman season as a Bulldog, Sabbatini made an impact in 2019. She ranked fourth on the team with 92 kills, including a career-high 13 kills in a series sweep over Nevada (Sept. 26). 

She ranked fourth on the team with 83 digs in her sophomore season, including a career high with 15 twice against Wyoming (March 12) & at Colorado State (March 20).

Sabbatini was limited to just 16 matches as a junior. Despite a challenging year on the court, she was excellent in the classroom. Sabbatini was selected to the All-MWC Academic team for the third consecutive season in 2021. 

2022 has been Sabbatini’s best year yet, earning her best season marks with 89 sets played, 98 kills, 15 assists, 134 digs and 17 blocks. 

“[Sabbatini] is someone who cares a lot about people and a lot about her performance. Those two things go hand in hand in making a great volleyball player,” said Wright.

Sabbatini had five kills and seven digs in Saturday’s game against the University of Las Vegas (UNLV). She also added an assist in what would be the final home game of her collegiate career.

Despite the emotions behind this game, The ‘Dogs lost its final home game of the season in three sets, 3-0, to the University of Las Vegas (UNLV).

During a back-and-forth first set, sophomore Ella Rud led with four quick kills. The ‘Dogs tied the set early on 10-10, but the Rebels won the next seven points, taking a commanding 17-10 lead and forcing Fresno State to call timeout. UNLV held onto its lead, taking the first set 25-17.

Rud completed six kills during the first set and finished the game with 11 total. She now has 368 kills on the season to lead the Bulldogs. 

Senior Grace Doyle also had 10 kills for Fresno State.

The Bulldogs took charge and started the second set 10-4. UNLV responded with an 11-3 run, taking a 15-13 lead. The Rebels held on to win the set 25-23. 

The third set was similar to the first, with the two teams pulling to a 10-10 tie. UNLV pulled away again though to win the third and final set 25-20.

Rebel juniors Gabrielle Arretche-Ramos and Isabel Martin led the team with 13 and 12 kills respectively. 

The Bulldogs fell to 7-21 on the year including a 1-15 record in the Mountain West Conference (MWC) following the defeat Saturday.

Despite the loss, Wright remains optimistic heading into their final two matches of the season.

“We were battling and hitting the ball against the best team in the conference. That’s gonna give us confidence,” Wright said.

The ‘Dogs’ hit the road on Thursday to face the San Jose Spartans at 6 p.m. They’ll wrap up the year next Saturday in Reno as the Bulldogs face the University of Nevada at 1 p.m. Both games are available on the Mountain West Network.

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