Complete set of game notes (18 pages) - pdf
The Week Ahead
After concluding its four-match homestand with a 3-1 record, Sacramento State (8-9, 3-3) hits the road this week for matchups at Weber State on Friday, and Idaho State on Saturday. Both matches will begin at 6 p.m. PDT.
The Hornets are currently in a three-way tie for fifth place in the league standings with Montana and Eastern Washington. The top four spots in the conference are North Dakota (6-0), Northern Arizona (5-1), Portland State (5-1) and Idaho State (4-2). There are still 14 matches remaining on the schedule for all 11 teams in the league. The top six teams at the end of the regular season qualify for the Big Sky Tournament (Nov. 29-30), which will be held in Portland.
Of those 14 matches remaining, the Hornets will play eight on the road. The team has fared well against the conference at home, but will likely need to win some matchups on the road to be in contention of a Big Sky Tournament spot. The Hornets have played two road league matches thus far in losses to Eastern Washington (3-2) and Portland State (3-0) two weeks ago.
Weber State (5-15, 1-5) has dropped nine of its last 10 matches, and will host Idaho State on Wednesday. However, the Wildcats did beat Northern Colorado in five sets in Greeley last week, and are 3-5 at home this season. Sacramento State is 29-8 all-time against Weber State, and has won each of the last six meetings. Overall, the Hornets are 12-4 against the Wildcats when playing in Ogden, Utah.
Idaho State (10-7, 4-2) has won four of its last five matches, and is a perfect 3-0 at home this season. The Bengals' only losses in conference play came on the road at Northern Arizona and North Dakota. Sacramento State is 27-8 all-time against the Bengals, but Idaho State has won three straight and five of the last seven meetings between the two teams.
Like every match the remainder of the season, both Friday and Saturday's contests can be viewed live and free on www.WatchBigSky.com. Viewers just need to create a user name and password through the website, and tune in about 5-10 minutes before the match begins. Live stats for Friday's match are available by clicking here, and Saturday's match by clicking here.
Hitting For A High Percentage
Sacramento State has hit better than .300 in three of the last four matches, and the team's overall hitting percentage of .239 is the second best mark in the Big Sky. The Hornets have not hit better than .235 in a season since the 1995 squad hit for a .259 percentage. The team has already hit better than .300 on six occasions this year after accomplishing the feat just twice all of last season. Currently, five of the team's six starters are each hitting better than .220, and every non-defensive specialist on the squad is hitting above .170.
Getting Better In the Close Sets
Entering last week's matches, Sacramento State had lost seven of the eight sets it had played which resulted in a two-point outcome. However, the Hornets won both two-point, nail-biting sets last week, none bigger than the 15-13 outcome in the fifth set against Northern Colorado. Sacramento State also won the first set over North Dakota by a 25-23 score.
Not very often does a team field a pair of six-rotation outside hitters, and a six-rotation rightside hitter on the floor at the same time. But the Hornets employ that strategy as freshman outside hitter Morgan Stanley and sophomore outside hitter Sloan Lovett, as well as senior rightside hitter Kayla Beal each play all six rotations.
Home vs. Road
Sacramento State is currently 4-3 at home, and 1-4 when playing on an opponent's home court. When looking at the home vs. road splits for the Hornets, it easy to see why. Plain and simple, Sacramento State is a much better attacking team at home. When playing at Colberg Court, the Hornets are hitting .271 while averaging 12.39 kills per set, and the team has hit better than .300 on four occasions. In five road matches, team is averaging 10.44 kills per set while hitting .190, and the only plus-.300 hitting percentage came during the opening week of the season at La Salle.
Youth Is Served
Of the team's current starting lineup, outside hitters Sloan Lovett and Morgan Stanley, middle blockers Chelcy Motes and Courtney Dietrich, setter Hannah Hettinga and rightside hitter Kayla Beal, three are underclassmen. That includes two true freshmen in Stanley and Dietrich and a sophomore in Lovett. A total of six underclassmen have started matches this year for Sacramento State, including four freshmen.
Outside Hitters Wracking Up Kills
The trio of outside hitters Sloan Lovett (214) and Morgan Stanley (166), and rightside hitter Kayla Beal (155) have combined for 535 kills, or nearly 70 percent of the team's total tally of 770. All three are averaging better than 2.75 kills per set while no other Hornet receiving regular playing time is averaging better than 1.24. One of the three has led the Hornets in kills in all but one match this season. In fact, Lovett (9), Beal (6) and Stanley (4) have each led or tied for the team lead in kills on at least four occasions. Lovett is currently third in the league with 3.40 kills per set while Beal (2.87 kps) and Stanley (2.77 kps) also have healthy averages.
Middle blocker Chelcy Motes is hitting .525 (23-3-40) with averages of 1.64 kills and 1.36 blocks per set over the last four matches…middle Courtney Dietrich is hitting .368 with averages of 1.82 kills and 0.73 blocks over the last three matches…setter Hannah Hettinga is sixth in the Big Sky with an average of 9.95 assists per set as she attempts to become the first Hornet since 2007 to average at least 10 assists…senior libero Katie Aprile has at least 11 digs in six of the last eight matches, and is now sixth in the league with 3.69 digs per set…the Hornets remain first in the Big Sky and 28th in the nation with an average of 1.61 aces per set.