Ruben Volta completed his ninth season as head coach at Sacramento State in 2016. He took over the head coaching duties in 2008 after longtime coach Debby Colberg announced her retirement.
The 2015 Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year, Volta has guided the program to a combined 46-19 overall record and 25-7 mark in league play over the last two seasons. That includes the Hornets’ first Big Sky South Division championship in 2016. In fact, during that 2016 season, Sacramento State was the No. 2 seed at the eight-team Big Sky Tournament after finishing the year with a 13-3 conference record.
The Hornets weren’t far off from hosting the 2016 postseason tournament but North Dakota narrowly edged the Hornets for the right to host the event. Sacramento State saw its nine-match winning streak snapped and season come to an end with a 3-1 loss to Northern Arizona in the semifinals. The winning streak, which included six three-game sweeps, was the second longest in the last nine years.
The Hornets will carry a 16-match home winning streak against Big Sky opposition into the 2017 season, as for the second year in a row, the team finished with a perfect 8-0 home mark against the league a year ago. Incredibly, the Hornets dropped just two sets at home in league play in 2016, outscoring conference opposition, 24-2, in sets played. The Hornets’ 13-3 conference record in 2016 was also the program’s best mark since the 2007 squad finished with the same record.
Headlined by first team all-league setter Kennedy Kurtz and Big Sky Libero of the Year Lexie Skalbeck, Sacramento State received five all-conference selections in 2016, the most of any of the Big Sky’s 12 teams. In addition, the five selections tied for the most ever awarded to the program since Sacramento State joined the Big Sky in 1996. The team finished with an overall record of 20-12, the program’s second consecutive 20-win season.
Volta was named the Big Sky Coach of the Year after leading the 2015 Hornet squad to a 26-7 overall record and a 12-4 mark in 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 18-win improvement was the best mark in the nation among the NCAA’s 329 Div. I volleyball programs.
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.
Not only did the Hornets improve their overall record by 18 wins, the team also quadrupled its conference win total from the 2014 season. 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 of the beach squad.
Volta has been a member of the Sacramento State indoor coaching staff a combined 17 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 17-year tenure with the program, Sacramento State has combined for a 337-210 overall record (.616 winning percentage), a 177-93 mark (.656) in the Big Sky, seven Big Sky Tournament championships, five regular season conference titles and seven NCAA Tournament appearances.
Also, during that 17-year span, Sacramento State players have combined for 80 all-academic selections, 55 all-conference awards (including 17 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 accolade in 2015 after averaging 4.12 kills per set to go along with a .305 hitting percentage.
In addition, over the last 14 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 seven in 2016, tied for the most by the program in the last eight years. Eleven of the Hornets’ 16 players will enter the 2017 beach volleyball season with overall grade point averages above a 3.0.
Volta’s players graduate as well. Of the 24 student-athletes that have expired their eligibility during Volta’s head coaching tenure, 23 have graduated.
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 included 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.