Big Sky Tournament Central
Big Sky Standings
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Senior outside hitter Morgan Stanley had a match-best 19 kills, and in the process, notched her 1,000th career kill, as Sacramento State swept Weber State (25-19, 25-21, 25-19) in the Big Sky Conference regular season finale.
Sacramento State (19-11, 13-3) won its eighth straight match overall, while also winning its 16th consecutive match against Big Sky opposition at home. After the Hornets went 5-3 during the first half of league play, they won all eight matches in the second half to set themselves up with the No. 2 seed at next week's Big Sky Tournament in Grand Forks, N.D. The Hornets will play on Thursday against No. 7 Eastern Washington at a time to be determined. The Big Sky has set up a tournament central page by clicking here.
Sacramento State went 8-0 at home vs. Big Sky opposition for the second straight year. Incredibly, the Hornets dropped just two sets at home in league play, outscoring conference opposition, 24-2, in sets played. The Hornets' 13-3 conference record is the program's best mark since the 2007 squad also went 13-3.
In addition, the Hornets are just one win shy of their second consecutive 20-win season, and the team finished the regular season 9-3 at home, 8-5 on the road and 2-3 on neutral floors.
Weber State (14-12, 5-11) still has a shot at earning the eighth and final seed into the Big Sky Tournament, but will need Idaho to lose later today against Montana State. Coupled with the Hornets' 3-1 win earlier this year in Ogden, Sacramento State swept the season series and now owns a dominant 35-10 record in the all-time series with the Wildcats.
Prior to today's victory, Hornet seniors Madeline Cannon, Courtney Dietrich, Lexie Skalbeck and Stanley were honored for their contributions to the program. All four had a big hand in today's victory as Stanley's 19 kills were seven more than any other player on the floor, Dietrich had five kills, three blocks and an .833 hitting percentage (5-0-6), Cannon had nine kills and a match-high five blocks, and Skalbeck finished with a match-high tying 11 digs. All four seniors played big roles in the Hornets showing progress each season of their careers, which included a 26-7 overall record and 12-4 conference mark in 2015.
Stanley was incredible, averaging 6.33 kills per set in the match while her 19 kills came with just three errors in 32 swings (.500 hitting percentage). She also had five digs and her .500 hitting percentage was a season high. Stanley entered the match needing 14 kills to reach 1,000, and the fourth-year senior got the milestone in the third set. She becomes the 21st Sacramento State player since 1985 to notch 1,000 career kills.
"The four seniors are a very special group that has worked so hard and they are a big reason for our success over the last couple years," Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. "Their commitment to their teammates and to work hard has been outstanding, and they will be leaving the program in a very good spot.
"However, we aren't done yet and I like the way we are playing heading into the Big Sky Tournament. We have a lot of momentum right now, and we need to sustain that momentum for three more matches to get to our end goal of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament."
The Big Sky Tournament will begin on Thursday with four quarterfinal matches, followed by two semifinal matches on Friday and the championship on Saturday.
In today's victory, the Hornets hit .312, their second best output of the season. In fact, that was the best mark since the season-opening victory when the Hornets hit .434 against Arkansas Pine Bluff. Sacramento State had 51 kills (compared to Weber State's 29) with just 16 errors in 112 attacks. The Hornets saw four players connect for hitting percentages above .330, including middle blocker Brie Gathright who had four kills, three blocks and a .400 hitting percentage.
Stanley was the only Hornet with double figures in kills as her 19 were at least 10 better than any other Sacramento State player. Mikaela Nocetti finished with eight kills, nine digs and two blocks, setter Kennedy Kurtz had three kills, 44 assists and eight digs, Lana Brown had a pair of kills and Brigitte Murdock finished with four digs.
Weber State hit .238, but produced only 29 kills, including six during the entire third set. Amanda Varley led the Wildcats with 12 kills.
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