SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- In the team's biggest match of the season, Sacramento State responded in impressive fashion, sweeping past Weber State (25-14, 25-20, 25-13) in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Saturday evening at Colberg Court.
The win allowed the Hornets (14-15, 9-9) to take over sole possession of sixth place in the Big Sky standings, one game back fifth-place Montana (10-8) and one game ahead of seventh-place Northern Colorado (8-10). The top six teams in the 11-member league qualify for the Big Sky Tournament (Nov. 29-30) and only two matches remain in the regular season.
Although Sacramento State controls its own destiny for a tournament berth, the Hornets do not own the tiebreaker against Montana or Northern Colorado should they finish the season in a tie with either team. Below is the remaining schedule for the three teams, including what is setting up to be a gigantic match on Nov. 23 between the Hornets and Montana.
- Montana (10-8): Nov. 23 at home vs. Sacramento State; Nov. 25 on the road at Montana State.
- Sacramento State (9-9): Nov. 21 on the road at Montana State; Nov. 23 on the road at Montana.
- Northern Colorado (8-10): Nov. 21 at home vs. Southern Utah; Nov. 23 at home vs. Northern Arizona.
Tonight marked the final home match of the season for the Hornets, and seniors Chelcy Motes, Katie Aprile, Hannah Hettinga and Kayla Beal were each honored prior to the contest for their contributions to the program. Each of the four seniors played well, as Beal finished with a match-high 10 kills and three aces to go with a .400 hitting percentage, Motes had seven kills and a .700 hitting percentage, Aprile had a team-best seven digs, and Hettinga had 30 assists.
Weber State hit just .044, the lowest mark by a Hornet opponent all season. The Wildcats finished with just 19 kills and 16 errors in 68 swings. Conversely, Sacramento State hit .291 with 20 more kills (39-19), four more aces (8-4) and six more digs (30-24). Weber State's largest lead of the night was 3-0 to start the second set.
"We treat every match like it's a must win, but tonight was certainly the definition of a must-win match," Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. "Each of our four seniors, Chelcy, Katie, Hannah and Kayla, played well and really got the team going.
"Obviously, next week is extremely important because of where we sit in the standings. We control our destiny, and I'm confident our players will respond to the challenge."
Five different Hornets had at least four kills, comprised of Beal, Motes, freshmen Courtney Dietrich (nine kills, .538 hitting percentage) and Morgan Stanley (seven kills), and sophomore Sloan Lovett (four kills). For Dietrich, the .538 hitting percentage was a season high, and the nine kills were one shy of her season best. Motes' seven kills were one shy of her career best. Freshman Lexie Skalbeck added two aces and six digs.
For Weber State, Audrey Biggs (8) and Rebecca Fuchs (7) accounted for 15 of the Wildcats 19 kills. No other WSU player had more than one kill.