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VOLLEYBALL HOSTS MONTANA TONIGHT, TRAVELS TO PORTLAND STATE ON SATURDAY

VOLLEYBALL HOSTS MONTANA TONIGHT, TRAVELS TO PORTLAND STATE ON SATURDAY

Sacramento State Game Notes (23 pages) - pdf
Big Sky Conference standings

The Week Ahead

• Fresh off a week in which Sacramento State (8-8, 2-0) began Big Sky Conference play with a pair of road wins, the Hornets will play once at home, and on the road this week.
• Sacramento State will host Montana on Thursday at 7 p.m. before traveling north to take on Portland State on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
• Amazingly, Thursday will mark the Hornets' lone home match during the first half of conference play. Of the team's first eight Big Sky matches, only one comes at home.
• However, even though the Hornets will have the league's toughest schedule the first half of Big Sky play, the team will play seven of their last eight conference matches at home.
• Last week's outcomes marked the first time that Sacramento State has began the Big Sky season with a pair of road wins since the program joined the league in 1996.
• On Monday, junior setter Kennedy Kurtz was named both the Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Week and the Sacramento State Student-Athlete of the Week.
• Montana will enter Thursday's match with a 4-8 overall record and 1-1 conference mark. The Grizzlies split two home matches last week, falling to Eastern Washington and beating Idaho.
• Portland State (9-5, 1-1), which hosts Montana State on Thursday, split its road matches a week ago, defeating Idaho State and falling to Weber State. Both were decided in four sets.
• Sacramento State is one of just three teams in the 12-member Big Sky with perfect 2-0 conference records, joining Eastern Washington and fellow South Division rival Northern Arizona.
• The Hornets rank first in the Big Sky in kills (13.97), assists (12.83) and digs (16.46) per set.

This Week's Multimedia Options

• Just like every match the remainder of the season (home or away), both contests this week can be viewed live and free via www.WatchBigSky.com.
• Live stats will also be available for every match this year, home or away.
• Multimedia options (video, live stats, audio, etc.) can be accessed to the right of each match on the volleyball schedule at www.hornetsports.com.

Against This Week's Opponents

• Sacramento State is 28-13 all-time against Montana, which includes a 15-4 mark at home.
• In the two teams' lone meeting last season, the Hornets swept Montana in Sacramento by 25-14, 25-18, 25-20 scores. Thursday will be the only matchup of the season between the Hornets and Grizzlies as members of the North Division play South Division foes just once.
• The Hornets are 40-22 all-time against Portland State, including a 15-12 mark in Portland.
• Sacramento State has won three straight in the series, and that includes road wins over the Vikings in 2015 (3-set sweep) and 2014 (3-2; 16-14 in the 5th set).

Putting Up Big Kill and Dig Numbers

• Sacramento State currently ranks among the top 40 teams in the nation - among 329 Div. I squads - in both kills (31st; 13.97) and digs (36th; 16.46) per set, marks which both rank tops in the Big Sky.
• In addition, the Hornets' 824 total kills rank 18th in the nation and 971 digs rank 26th.
• The Hornets have four players averaging better than 2.70 kills per set, comprised of Shannon Boyle (3.80), Morgan Stanley (3.08), Madeline Cannon (2.81) and Mikaela Nocetti (2.73).
• In addition, the team has four players averaging better than 2.20 digs per set in Lexie Skalbeck (4.58), Boyle (2.80), Kennedy Kurtz (2.66) and Nocetti (2.22).

Kurtz Among The Nation's Leaders Again

• One year after finishing 17th in the nation with 11.39 assists per set, junior setter Kennedy Kurtz is putting up big numbers again, currently ranking 15th in the nation with 11.27 assists per set.
• Kurtz was named the Big Sky's Offensive Player of the Week and Sacramento State's Student-Athlete of the Week on Monday after combining for 101 assists and 28 digs in the Hornets' two wins.
• This year, she has posted averages of 11.27 assists and 2.66 digs per set while hitting .432.
• In 81 swings, she has 38 kills with just three errors, and now has a .334 career hitting percentage. If she had enough swings to qualify, that .334 percentage would rank fifth in school history.
• Kurtz has at least 50 assists on five occasions this season, and her eight double-doubles rank her tied for third in the Big Sky in that category.

Boyle Putting Up Big Numbers After Return From Injury

• After missing 18 matches last year with a back injury, hard-hitting outside hitter Shannon Boyle has been impressive in her return this season.
• She leads team in matches with double-figure kills (13) and double-doubles (9). In addition, she ranks third in the Big Sky in both kills per set (3.80) and points per set (4.21).
• Her nine double-doubles are the second most in the Big Sky.
• Boyle has seen a high volume of sets come her way as she is 31st in the nation with 11.14 swings per set. Her career high in kills of 21 came at UNLV.

Hornet Notables

• Outside hitter Mikaela Nocetti moved into the starting lineup at outside hitter at Idaho State on Saturday and responded with five kills and a .500 hitting percentage in the fifth set alone. That included the match-clinching kill at 16-15 of that fifth set.
• Middle blocker Courtney Dietrich, third in the Big Sky with a .364 hitting percentage, has hit better than .300 in all but three matches this season.
• Outside hitter Morgan Stanley is 44 kills shy of becoming the 21st Hornet since the 1985 season to reach the 1,000 kills milestone.
• Rightside hitter Madeline Cannon posted a career-high 16 kills in Friday's win at Weber State, and upped that mark one night later to 17 kills on Saturday at Idaho State. She also hit .347 for the week.
• Libero Lexie Skalbeck posted a career-high 32 digs at Weber State, surpassing her previous best of 31, set on two occasions. Her average of 4.58 digs per set is third best in the Big Sky.
• Middle blocker Brie Gathright, the owner of a .291 hitting percentage, leads the team and ranks ninth in the Big Sky with an average of 1.02 blocks per set.
• Defensive specialist Brigitte Murdock has a team-high .965 service reception success rate.