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Full set of game notes (22 pages) - pdf

The Week Ahead

• Fresh off an opening week of the season in which the Hornets went 3-0 and won the Maverick Classic championship, Sacramento State is back for three more matches this week.
• The Hornets will play in the two-day, four-team Rebel Challenge in Las Vegas. Sacramento State will play three times at the tournament, including Friday against both host UNLV at 10 a.m. and Cal State Northridge at 5 p.m. The Hornets will also play Saturday vs. Hofstra at 11:30 a.m.
• Sacramento State's opponents at this week's tournament are a combined 8-2. Hofstra (4-0) won the Black Knights Invitational in West Point, N.Y., over the weekend while UNLV (3-0) won its UNLV Invitational, which included sweeps of UC Santa Barbara and New Mexico State. Cal State Northridge is currently 1-2 with one of those losses coming in five sets to Pepperdine.
• The Hornets are 3-0 for the first time since 2013, and just the second time in the last nine years.
• Dating back to the beginning of last season, Sacramento State is 29-7 and has been taken to five sets just three times over that span. The Hornets finished the 2015 season at 26-7.
• Sacramento State had three players named all-tournament - libero Lexie Skalbeck, setter Kennedy Kurtz and outside hitter Shannon Boyle. Skalbeck was also named the Big Sky Conference's first-ever defensive player of the week. The league adopted a defensive weekly honor this year.
• Over the last 40 years, Sacramento State has a 950-427 record (.690 winning percentage).

This Week's Multimedia Options

• UNLV is not offering online video this week, but there will be live stats for each contest.
• Multimedia options (video, live stats, etc.) can be accessed to the right of each match on the volleyball schedule at www.hornetsports.com.
• Free live video in HD will be offered for every home match this season via www.WatchBigSky.com. In addition, free video will be offered for every road match played in a Big Sky Conference venue.

Coming Off A 26-Win Season

• Last year, Sacramento State posted a 26-7 overall record, a 12-4 mark in the Big Sky, an 11-1 record at home, 8-5 on the road and 7-1 on neutral floors.
• The Hornets were taken to five sets just twice all year, had an 18-win improvement from the previous season, recorded a 12-match winning streak, never lost more than two matches in a row, and finished 78th out of 334 Div. I teams in the NCAA's final RPI report.
• The Hornets' .256 hitting percentage was the best single-season mark since 1995 and second best in the Div. I era (1991-pres.). Among the Big Sky's 12 teams, Sacramento State finished first in kills per set (14.08) and assists per set (12.95), second in hitting percentage (.256) and aces per set (1.66), and third in digs per set (15.66).
• The Hornets won their Big Sky Tournament quarterfinal match over Northern Colorado (3-1), but fell in the semis to tournament host and eventual champion Northern Arizona (3-0).
• The Hornets welcome back 13 players from last year, including four starters and the team's libero. The team, however, will have to compensate for the losses of outside hitters Lauren Kissell and Sloan Lovett, who ranked fourth and sixth, respectively, in the Big Sky in kills per set.

Injury Bug Already Biting

• Just three matches into the season, a key Hornet has already suffered an injury.
• Senior Madeline Cannon, who made the switch from middle blocker a year ago to rightside hitter this season, will miss this week's matches with injury.
• Cannon is a big part of the Hornet offense as she had at least 12 kills in all three matches last week. She is currently averaging 3.08 kills, 3.75 points and a team-best 1.08 blocks per set.
• Despite the 26-win season a year ago, the Hornets had four players miss significant time on the court due to injuries in 2015.

Boyle Is Back

• After missing 18 matches last year with a back injury, hard-hitting outside hitter Shannon Boyle made an impressive return last week.
• Not only was Boyle named all-tournament, she set her career high in kills twice, notching a career-best 19 vs. Sam Houston State and improving that mark to 20 kills at UT Arlington.
• For good measure, she also set her career high with 20 digs against Sam Houston State.
• Boyle, who hammers balls at a high velocity and often leaves bruises on defenders arms, averaged 4.10 kills, 4.40 points and 3.10 digs per set while hitting .243 last week.
• For efforts, she was also named the Sacramento State Student-Athlete of the Week on Monday.

Hornet Notables

• In a series which dates back to 1981, the Hornets are 25-22 all-time vs. CSUN; 2-0 all-time vs. UNLV with the last matchup coming in 2003; 4-0 against Hofstra with the last meeting in 1995.
• This year's team captains are senior middle Courtney Dietrich and junior setter Kennedy Kurtz.
• Senior libero Lexie Skalbeck was named the Big Sky's Defensive Player of the Week after averaging 5.00 digs per set at the Maverick Classic. Skalbeck has improved upon her digs per set average every year of her career, from 1.52 as a freshman, 3.62 as a sophomore and 4.52 a year ago.
• Kurtz had at least 50 assists in two matches last week and now has 2,681 career assists just three matches into her junior year. In addition, she is hitting .307 for her career with 119 kills.
• Outside hitter Morgan Stanley could have easily been named all-tournament last week as she averaged 4.09 kills, 4.41 points and 2.73 digs per set. That included 21 kills over four sets at UT Arlington. In her fourth season, she now has 844 career kills and 768 digs.
• Dietrich, who missed the final seven matches a year ago with a knee injury, is hitting a team-best .485. Dating back to last season, over her last six matches played, she is hitting a ridiculous .608 with 34 kills and just three errors in 51 swings. She has hit at least .400 in each match this year.
• Though the Hornet offense was proficient last week (notching 14.50 kps and a .256 hitting percentage), it was the defense that was just as impressive. Sacramento State averaged 17.75 digs per set while limiting the opposition to a .111 hitting percentage and just 9.67 kills per set.