GAME NOTES (17 pages) - PDF
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The Week Ahead
After opening the season by going 4-0 and winning the La Salle Invitational championship last weekend, the Hornets begin the home portion of the schedule when the team hosts the 11th-annual Sacramento State Invitational this Friday and Saturday, Sept. 6-7.
This year's tournament features four teams and six matches over two days. The field includes the Hornets (Big Sky Conference), Cal Poly (Big West Conference), San Jose State (Mountain West Conference) and Central Connecticut (Northeast Conference).
Each team will play three matches during the round-robin tournament and a champion will be declared on the final day of competition based on record. Should two or more teams be tied for the top record, a series of tiebreakers will be used to declare the champion. An all-tournament team will be announced at the conclusion of the final match on Saturday.
The tournament schedule for Friday features matches at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sacramento State will play the 6 p.m. match against San Jose State. Saturday's schedule features matches at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. The Hornets will play Saturday at 12:30 p.m. (vs. Central Connecticut) and 7 p.m. (vs. Cal Poly).
This week marks the beginning of another year of WatchBigSky.com, which offers fans free live video streams of every Sacramento State volleyball home match, and every contest played in a Big Sky venue. All three Hornet matches this week, and 23 of the final 27 matches of the regular season will be aired live and free via video stream by clicking here. Brian Berger or Andrew Tomsky will provide the audio play-by-play of every home match this season. Live stats are offered for all home matches by clicking here. Links for all multimedia options (video, audio, live stats) can also be accessed on the volleyball schedule at www.hornetsports.com.
Sacramento State started the season nicely, posting a 4-0 record at last weekend's La Salle Invitational. The team's 4-0 record is the best mark after four matches since the 1995 squad accomplished the feat. That 1995 team won the first seven matches of the year and finished the season 35-4. The 4-0 record is also the best mark in the Big Sky Conference thus far.
Lovett Goes Off
Sophomore Sloan Lovett was not only the Hornets' representative on the La Salle Invitational all-tournament team, she also received her first career Big Sky Player of the Week award. Lovett, who is a six-rotation outside hitter, posted double figures in kills in all four matches, and led the Hornets in kills during the last three contests of the tournament. She is currently fourth in the Big Sky with 4.07 kills per set, and also averages 2.43 digs and 0.36 aces per set while hitting .318. The Durango, Colo., native set single-match career highs in five different categories, and her season total of 57 kills are already 12 shy of what she accumulated all of last year (69).
Among Big Sky Leaders
Among the 11 Big Sky teams, the Hornets rank in the top three squads in six different categories, including first in service aces (1.40 per set), second in opponent hitting percentage (.107), assists (13.73 per set), kills (14.47 kps) and digs (16.47 dps), and third in hitting percentage (.302). In fact, the Hornets have hit no worse than .229 in any match this season while the opposition has failed to hit better than .138.
And The Bad
Despite ranking among the Big Sky's top three teams in nearly every category, there is one stat that jumps out in a rough way. Service errors....and there have been a lot of them. The Hornets have committed 46 service errors in four matches, or an average of 11.5 per match. Sacramento State has reached double digits in service errors in three matches thus far, including a robust 15 against Bucknell in the season opener. Not one player on the roster has a positive ace-to-service error ratio, and the Hornets are nearly one fourth of the way to their service error number from all of last year (216).
Middles Hitting For High Percentage
Sacramento State's middle blocker trio of senior Chelcy Motes and freshmen Kendall LaVine and Courtney Dietrich have combined to hit .348 (48-16-92) this season. All three middles are hitting at least .320, and have combined to commit just 16 attack errors. Motes has started all four matches while Dietrich has gained the start three times, and LaVine has started one match.
These Guys Are Freshmen?
Entering the season, it was a formality that the freshmen would have to be a factor if the Hornets wanted to enjoy success in 2013. So far, so good. Four freshmen, outside hitter Morgan Stanley, middle blockers Kendall LaVine and Courtney Dietrich, and defensive specialist Lexie Skalbeck, have all made big impacts thus far. All four players have started at least one match. Stanley is a six-rotation outside hitter who is averaging 3.15 kills and 2.77 digs per set while hitting .318. She has committed just seven errors in 107 attacks. Skalbeck got her first start at libero against Fairleigh Dickinson and responded with 21 digs. Either Dietrich or LaVine will be on the court as one of the Hornets' middle blockers, and both have started matches and hit for a high percentage thus far.
Record Against Tournament Competition
Sacramento State is 8-6 all-time against San Jose State (3 straight wins in the series), 6-7 vs. Cal Poly (4 straight wins in the series), and 1-0 vs. Central Connecticut (only meeting in 1995).