SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State seniors Madeline Cannon and Lexie Skalbeck swept the Big Sky Conference volleyball offensive and defensive player of the week awards, respectively, after the duo helped lead the Hornets to a pair of three-set sweeps last week.
The Hornets made quick work of both Northern Arizona (25-15, 25-18, 25-19) and Southern Utah (25-12, 25-17, 25-20) at home, which allowed second-place Sacramento State to move within one game of NAU's lead atop the Big Sky's South Division. The Hornets are currently 15-11 overall and 9-3 in the Big Sky with just four matches remaining in the regular season. That includes a perfect 5-0 record at home against league foes with each of those victories coming via three-set sweep.
Cannon becomes the second Hornet to earn offensive player of the week honors this season, joining setter Kennedy Kurtz who won the award on Sept. 26. For Skalbeck, it marks her second defensive player of the week award as she was also the recipient on Aug. 29.
Cannon, a rightside hitter from Sacramento, finished the week with a .421 hitting percentage while posting averages of 4.83 kills, 5.83 points, 1.17 digs, 0.67 blocks and 0.67 aces per set. She had 29 kills with just three errors in 57 total attacks. In addition, Cannon posted match highs in kills in each victory and hit better than .365 in both matches.
In the Hornets' showdown with first-place Northern Arizona on Thursday night, Cannon had 14 kills, two aces and six digs while hitting .481 in the three-set victory. Her 14 kills tied a match best and her .481 hitting percentage was the second best mark among all players. She had just one error in 27 attacks to go along with the 14 kills. In Saturday's sweep of Southern Utah, Cannon had a match-high 15 kills to go along with a .367 hitting percentage, two aces and three blocks. Her 15 kills were three better than any other player on the floor, and she had just four errors in 30 attacks.
Cannon is now averaging a team-high 3.44 kills per set in conference play (5th in the Big Sky), and that includes a .320 hitting percentage (7th in the Big Sky). She has recorded double figures in kills in nine of the Hornets' 12 conference matches.
Skalbeck, a libero from Portland, led a Hornet defense that limited Northern Arizona and Southern Utah to a combined .166 hitting percentage. She averaged a robust 7.00 digs per set during the week, and posted a match-best 21 digs in both victories. Skalbeck was the catalyst for an impressive Sacramento State defensive effort that turned in 23.00 digs per set during the week. In addition, in 21 serves sent her way, Skalbeck did not have a reception error.
In the Hornets' sweep over Northern Arizona, Skalbeck had a match-high tying 21 digs while also accumulating four assists. Two days later, in Sacramento State's win against Southern Utah, she had 21 digs, eight more than any other player on the floor. She also had four assists.
Skalbeck is now averaging a Big Sky-best 5.04 digs per set, which is also the 28th best mark in the nation. In addition, she leads the Big Sky with 5.84 digs per set against conference opposition.
Sacramento State returns to action this week for a road matchup at Montana State on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. PDT, followed by a home match against Portland State on Saturday at 7 p.m. Beginning with the Portland State match, the Hornets will play each of their final three regular season matches at home. The Big Sky Tournament will take place Nov. 17-19 at the site of the regular season champion. The North Division's North Dakota (10-2) and Northern Colorado (9-3) as well as the South Division's Northern Arizona (10-2) and the Hornets (9-3) are all within one game of each other in the race for the league's regular season title.
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