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VOLLEYBALL BRINGS 4-MATCH WINNING STREAK INTO THIS WEEK'S SLATE OF MATCHES

VOLLEYBALL BRINGS 4-MATCH WINNING STREAK INTO THIS WEEK'S SLATE OF MATCHES

Full set of game notes (23 pages) - pdf
Big Sky Conference standings

The Week Ahead

• With just four matches remaining in the regular season, the Hornets (15-11, 9-3) will play twice this week, including a road matchup at Montana State (5-16, 3-9) on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. PDT, and back at home Saturday vs. Portland State (14-10, 6-6) at 7 p.m.
• Sacramento State is currently in second place in the Big Sky's South Division, one game behind Northern Arizona (10-2). Should the two teams finish the season with the same record, the Hornets would claim the tiebreaker over the Lumberjacks.
• The winner of the Big Sky's regular season title will earn the right to host the Big Sky Tournament on Nov. 17-19. To have a shot at hosting, the Hornets will likely have to win their last four matches and get some help from other teams. In that four-win scenario, Northern Arizona would have to lose one more match. North Dakota, however, currently leads the North Division with a 10-2 record and owns the tiebreaker over the Hornets. That means the Fighting Hawks would need to lose twice and SAC go 4-0 for the Hornets to have a shot at hosting the postseason.
• Sacramento State is playing its best volleyball of the season, having just completed a perfect 4-0 homestand with all four wins coming via three-set sweep. That includes a convincing 25-15, 25-18, 25-19 win over Northern Arizona on Thursday.
• The Hornets have already clinched a berth into the eight-team Big Sky Tournament.
• In Big Sky play, Sacramento State is 5-0 at home and 4-3 on the road. All five of those wins at home have come via three-set sweep. In addition, the Hornets have won 13 consecutive matches at home over Big Sky opposition, a streak which dates back to the beginning of last season.

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

• Montana State will bring a 5-16 overall record and a 3-9 mark in the Big Sky into Thursday night's matchup. The Bobcats are 2-5 at home, including wins vs. Montana and Weber State.
• Thursday will mark the only meeting of the season between the two teams as Montana State resides in the Big Sky's North Division.
• Sacramento State is 42-6 (.875 winning percentage) all-time vs. the Bobcats. That includes nine straight wins in the series. The last loss to Montana State came on the road on Oct. 15, 2010. The Hornets are 15-5 when playing the Bobcats in Bozeman.
• Portland State, which plays at Montana on Thursday, brings a 14-10 overall record and a 6-6 Big Sky mark into the week.
• The Vikings had won four straight until falling at home in five sets to Northern Arizona on Saturday. Sacramento State defeated the Vikings earlier this season in Portland in four sets.
• The Hornets are 41-22 all-time vs. Portland State, and have won the last four meetings between the two teams. Sacramento State is 19-4 against the Vikings when playing at home.

Hornets Playing At A High Level

• Sacramento State, which was selected to finish fifth in the Big Sky's preseason coaches poll, is currently playing its best volleyball of the season. The team has won four straight and has not dropped a set during that winning streak.
• In conference play, the Hornets are 8-1 in matches that last three or four sets, and 1-2 in five setters. All five of Sacramento State's home wins against league opposition have come in straight sets.
• The Hornets are five victories shy of their second straight 20-win season as the team went 26-7 last year, but lost its top two outside hitters heading into 2016.
• Sacramento State's 9-3 conference record ties its best league mark after 12 matches in the last nine years. Last year's team was also 9-3. The 2007 squad had a 10-2 record.
• The Hornets lead the conference, and rank among the top 50 teams in the nation, in digs per set (11th, 17.37), kills per set (49th, 13.89) and assists per set (50th, 12.92). The team's total of 1,650 digs are the 21st best mark in the nation and 1,320 total kills rank 22nd in the country.

Playing The Defense

• Over the last six matches, Sacramento State is averaging a massive 19.95 digs per set, driving up its season total to 17.37 per set, the 11th best mark in the nation.
• Sacramento State has averaged at least 18.0 digs per set in six straight matches, which includes a whopping average of 26.3 per set in the Hornets' three-set sweep of Northern Arizona on Thursday.
• Leading the way is senior libero Lexie Skalbeck, who is first in the Big Sky and 28th in the nation with 5.04 digs per set. Over the last eight matches, she is averaging 6.17 digs per set.

Hornet Notables

• Rightside hitter Madeline Cannon and libero Lexie Skalbeck swept this week's Big Sky offensive and defensive player of the week awards, respectively.
• Setter Kennedy Kurtz is now fifth in the nation with 1,077 assists, and 16th in the nation with an average of 11.34 assists per set. Also, she is hitting .407 with 65 kills and eight errors in 140 attacks.
• Since 1985, Sacramento State has seen 20 players reach the 1,000 career kill plateau. Morgan Stanley could become the 21st as she is just 16 kills shy of the milestone.
• Middle blocker Courtney Dietrich, who has hit at least .400 in three of her last four matches and on 13 occasions this year, now leads the Big Sky with a .359 hitting percentage.
• Outside hitter Mikaela Nocetti has four double-doubles over her last eight matches and is now averaging 2.82 kills and 2.51 digs per set. During conference play, when she has 10 kills or more, Sacramento State is 7-1 in those matches.
• In conference play, rightside hitter Madeline Cannon is fourth in the Big Sky in points (4.09 pps), fifth in kills (3.44 kps) and aces (0.36 aps), and seventh in hitting percentage (.320).
• Outside hitter Shannon Boyle has double-figure kills on a team-best 21 occasions this year, and has at least eight kills in all 12 Big Sky matches thus far. She also has three straight double-doubles.