VOLLEYBALL OPENS BIG SKY PLAY THIS WEEK WITH TWO MATCHES

VOLLEYBALL OPENS BIG SKY PLAY THIS WEEK WITH TWO MATCHES

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

The Week Ahead

• After completing the non-league portion of the season on Saturday, Sacramento State (9-7) will finally jump into Big Sky Conference play with a pair of home matches against Weber State (2-10)  on Thursday at 7 p.m. followed by Idaho State (3-10) on Saturday at 1 p.m.
• The Hornets have played just twice at home thus far, going 1-1 inside the Nest, 5-4 on neutral floors and 3-2 on an opponent's home court. The schedule will get a little friendlier as Sacramento State will play six of its first eight conference matches at Colberg Court.
• Of the team's 16 matches thus far, only two have been decided in three sets as the Hornets are 0-2 in three setters, 6-3 in four set matches and 3-2 in five-set outcomes.
• Last Friday's loss to Pepperdine snapped a six-match winning streak.
• The Hornets will look to defend their Big Sky South Division title from a year ago when the team finished 20-12 overall and 13-3 in league. Sacramento State would eventually lose in the semifinals of last year's Big Sky Tournament.
• Sacramento State has a lengthy home winning streak on the line as the team has won 16 consecutive matches against Big Sky opposition at the Nest. That streak dates back two years as the last home conference loss came in the regular season finale to Southern Utah on Nov. 15, 2014.
• Over the last two years, the Hornets have a combined Big Sky record of 25-7, the second best mark among the league's 12 teams over that span. Only Northern Arizona (27-5) has been better.
• Since joining the Big in 1996, Sacramento State has accounted for 11 conference championships (1997-07), but is searching for its first Big Sky overall title since the 2007 season.

This Week's Multimedia Options

• Including Thursday and Saturday's matches, free live video will be offered for every home match this season via www.WatchBigSky.com.
• In fact, every match the remainder of the season, home or road, will be offered free via www.WatchBigSky.com.
• Multimedia options (video, live stats) can be accessed to the right of each match on the volleyball schedule at www.hornetsports.com.

vs. This Week's Opponents

• Sacramento State is a combined 65-23 against this week's opponents.
• The Hornets are 35-10 against Weber State, and have won four straight, and 14 of the last 16 matchups over the Wildcats.
• Sacramento State is 19-3 all-time against Weber State at home with the only losses inside the Nest coming in 2014, 2009 and 2007.
• Sacramento State is 30-13 all-time against Idaho State, and 16-5 against the Bengals at home.
• The Hornets have won three straight in the series dating back to 2015. However, prior to that winning streak, the Bengals had won eight straight in the series.

Three Set Matches Are Rare

• Of Sacramento State's 16 matches this season, only two have been decided in three sets.
• In fact, despite winning nine times, the Hornets have yet to post a three-set victory.
• The team is 0-2 in three sets, and 6-3 in four sets and 3-2 in five sets.
• The Hornets have already played 67 sets this year, or an average of 4.2 sets per match.
• No such thing as a quick match when watching Sacramento State play. The Hornets have played matches lasting one hour and 43 minutes or longer all but two times. In fact, of the team's 16 matches, 11 have lasted an hour and 50 minutes or longer.

National Leaders In Plenty Of Categories

• Aided by the fact the Hornets have already played in 67 sets this year, Sacramento State is the national leader in a number of categories, including kills (865), digs (1,096), assists (805), aces (75) and attacks (2,596). The team is also second in total blocks with 137.0.
• In addition, the team has individuals ranking among the nation's top 10 players in many categories. That includes Kennedy Kurtz ranking first with 703 assists, Shannon Boyle ranking first in attacks (786) and fifth in kills (229), Brigitte Murdock ranking second with 306 digs, Mikaela Nocetti ranking fourth in attacks (701), and Lana Brown seventh in blocks (72).

Hornet Notables

• Sacramento State is 8-2 when winning the first set of a match, and 1-5 when dropping the first set.
• The Hornets, who have already played games in New York, Idaho, Kentucky and Nevada, will have played in nine different states by the time the season is over. Sacramento State will still play in Montana, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Utah before the season is complete.
• Setter Kennedy Kurtz recorded her 1,000th career dig last week, and now 4,589 career assists and 1,023 digs during her four-year career. The team co-captain now ranks fourth in school history in assists and is 564 assists shy of moving into third place.
• The Hornets have played in 28 different sets that have been decided by three points or less, and the team is 15-13 in those situations. In addition, they are 10-10 in the 20 sets decided by two points.
• Among Big Sky leaders, Hornets take up the top three spots in double-doubles, including Shannon Boyle (1st, 12), Mikaela Nocetti (2nd, 11) and Kurtz (T3rd, 8).
• Boyle (848) is just 152 kills shy of reaching the 1,000 career kills milestone.
• The Hornets are 8-0 when limiting the opposition to a hitting percentage below .200, and 1-7 when the opposition hits .200 or better.
• Head coach Ruben Volta has used the same starting lineup every match this season, consisting of Boyle and Nocetti at outside hitter, Brie Gathright and Lana Brown at middle blocker, Kurtz at setter, Sarah Davis at rightside hitter, and Brigitte Murdock at libero.
• Nocetti has posted at least 12 kills in six straight matches, and has double-figure kills in all but two matches this season. She has hit .215 or better in five of the last six matches.
• Brown's .343 hitting percentage is 4th in the Big Sky; she has hit better than .375 seven times.
• Boyle has streaks of eight straight matches with double figures in digs, and three straight matches with double digits in kills.
• Murdock's average of 4.57 digs per set is tops in the Big Sky, and she has posted double figures in digs all but one time (eight vs. BYU on Sept. 2).