VOLLEYBALL FALLS IN FIVE SETS AT WEBER STATE

VOLLEYBALL FALLS IN FIVE SETS AT WEBER STATE

OGDEN, Utah -- After Sacramento State took a 12-11 lead in the fifth set, Weber State scored the match's final four points on the way to a 3-2 victory (26-24, 21-25, 25-21, 21-25, 15-12) over the Hornets in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Thursday evening at Swenson Gym.

The Hornets were trailing in the fifth set by a 10-5 score, but immediately ripped off a 7-1 run to grab momentum and a 12-11 lead. However, a costly service error allowed the Wildcats to tie the score at 12-12, and the Wildcats followed with a block and kills from Taylor Christensen and Amanda Varley on match point to secure the victory.

Sacramento State dropped to 2-6 in five-set matches this season, and 1-4 when playing a Big Sky opponent. Two of those losses have come to Weber State, including a 16-14 loss in the fifth in Sacramento on Oct. 4 when the Hornets squandered a match point. In that match, it was three Hornet service errors in the fifth set that helped the Wildcats to victory. All four of the team's five-set losses to conference competition have come by three points or less.

The loss all but eliminated Sacramento State (7-21, 2-11) from a potential Big Sky Tournament berth. With three matches to play on the regular season schedule, the Hornets are three games back of the eighth and final spot for the conference tournament. Weber State, which snapped a five-match losing streak to the Hornets when playing in Ogden, improved to 7-21 and 3-10 in the Big Sky.

Statistically, the Wildcats dominated tonight's match, holding commanding advantages in kills (69-49), assists (68-38), digs (69-41) and hitting percentage (.185-.130). The Hornets were able to stay in the match because of 11 aces and 16.0 team blocks. The 16.0 blocks for Sacramento State matched a season high and the 11 aces tied for the second highest output of the season. The 41 digs, however, were the team's seventh lowest output of the year despite the match lasting five sets.

In what proved to be a very important first set, Weber State squeaked out a 26-24 victory. After a Weber attack error allowed the Hornets to tie the frame at 24-24, the Wildcats followed with a Varley kill and a combo block to take the early 1-0 lead.

For Sacramento State, junior outside hitter Sloan Lovett posted team highs in kills (18) and aces (4) while also tacking on six blocks and accumulating 25.0 points. Fellow outside hitter Lauren Kissell had 12 kills, a .286 hitting percentage, four digs and four blocks. No other Sacramento State player had more than seven kills. Setter Kennedy Kurtz had three aces and 13 digs, and libero Lexie Skalbeck added 11 digs.

Five different Hornets had at least five blocks, comprised of Courtney Dietrich (8), Lovett, Morgan Stanley (5), Madeline Cannon (5) and Kissell. Lovett (4) and Kurtz (3) combined for seven of the team's 11 aces.

Biggs, who came up huge in the fifth set with six of Weber State's nine kills, finished with a match-high 23 kills. Varley added 20 kills and libero McKay Tarbox finished with a match-high 25 digs. The Wildcats hit just .115 in the fifth set, but the Hornets were held to a -.043 percentage in the frame which included just four kills with five errors in 23 attacks.

Sacramento State will play its final road match on Saturday evening against conference front runner Idaho State at 6 p.m. PST.