Ruben Volta completed his 10th season as head coach at Sacramento State in 2017. A two-time Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year (2017, 2015), Volta has guided the program to a combined 72-29 overall record and a 40-8 mark in league play over the last three seasons. Sacramento State has won at least 20 games three consecutive years, posted back-to-back Big Sky South Division championships (2017, 2016), and has not lost a Big Sky regular season home match since the 2014 season (a span of 24 straight wins).
In 2017, the team went 26-10 overall and 15-1 in the Big Sky, winning the league’s regular season title for the first time since 2007. The team had three winning streaks of at least six games long, including a 10-gamer from Sept. 21-Oct. 21. In addition, Sacramento State put together streaks of 18 straight Big Sky regular season victories, and 26 straight home wins over league foes. The Hornets’ 15-1 conference record tied for the program’s best mark since joining the league in 1996 (the 1998 and 2006 squads also accomplished the feat), and Volta was named Big Sky Coach of the Year for the second time in three years.
Four members of the 2017 team were named all-conference, including league MVP Kennedy Kurtz, as well as fellow first team all-league selections Shannon Boyle and Mikaela Nocetti, and second team all-league choice Lana Brown. Kurtz became the first Big Sky MVP since 2007, and the Hornets placed three players on the first team for just the second time in program history.
By virtue of winning the league’s 2017 Big Sky regular season championship, Sacramento State hosted the conference tournament, winning their first two matches before falling in five sets in the championship match. Still, the Hornets made their first national postseason appearance since 2007 when the team qualified for the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC). Statistically, the team ranked second in the nation in total kills (1,972), fourth in digs (2,507) and ninth in aces (197). In addition, Kurtz easily led the nation in assists with 1,611.
The 2016 team won the program’s first Big Sky South Division title and earned the No. 2 seed at the Big Sky Tournament after posting a 20-12 overall record and 13-3 league mark. Headlined by first team all-league setter Kurtz and Big Sky Libero of the Year Lexie Skalbeck, Sacramento State received five all-conference selections, 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.
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.
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 18 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 18-year tenure with the program, Sacramento State has combined for a 363-220 overall record (.623 winning percentage), a 192-94 mark (.671) in the Big Sky, seven Big Sky Tournament championships, six regular season conference titles and seven NCAA Tournament appearances.
Also, during that 18-year span, Sacramento State players have combined for 84 all-academic selections, 59 all-conference awards (including 20 first team selections), four 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 15 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 eight years.
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.