TWO MORE HOME GAMES THIS WEEK, VOLLEYBALL LOOKS TO STAY UNBEATEN IN THE BIG SKY

TWO MORE HOME GAMES THIS WEEK, VOLLEYBALL LOOKS TO STAY UNBEATEN IN THE BIG SKY

Full set of game notes (7 pages) - pdf
Big Sky Conference standings

The Week Ahead

• Fresh off a pair of wins last week against North Dakota and Northern Colorado, Sacramento State (15-7, 6-0) resumes its season-long four-game homestand against Southern Utah (6-12, 1-5) on Thursday at 7 p.m. followed by Northern Arizona (6-11, 2-4) on Saturday at 1 p.m.
• Last week's win over North Dakota was a battle of the lone unbeaten teams in the Big Sky, as the Hornets now lay claim to the only undefeated team remaining in the conference.
• Sacramento State will bring a six-game winning streak into Thursday's match against Southern Utah, a 14-game regular season winning streak against Big Sky opposition and a 20-game winning streak at home against league teams.
• On Thursday, kids 12-under will be admitted free, there will be free team posters available and every member of the Hornets will sign autographs after the match. Thursday will also be  Volleyball Alumni Appreciation Night where all former Sacramento State volleyball players and their families will be admitted free.
• Sacramento State is currently a game ahead of Portland State (5-1) in the Big Sky's South Division. In the North Division, Idaho (5-1) sits in first place, followed by North Dakota (4-2). UND lost at Portland State on Saturday night. For tiebreaker purposes, Sacramento State won its match at Portland State earlier this year, essentially giving the Hornets a two-game lead over the Vikings in the South.
• The Hornets are the defending Big Sky South Division champions after finishing last season with a 20-12 overall record and 13-3 mark in conference.
• During the Hornets' six-game winning streak, four of those victories have come via three-set sweep.

This Week's Multimedia Options

• Free live video will be offered for every match the rest of the season via www.WatchBigSky.com. That includes this week's games vs. Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. Thursday's match will also be on Pluto TV, a free internet television service that can be viewed via an app for mobile devices as well as on PlutoTV.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 40-21 against its two opponents this week.
• Southern Utah joined the Big Sky in 2012, and the Hornets are 6-4 against the Thunderbirds. That includes a 4-1 record at home.
• The last Big Sky team to beat the Hornets inside the Nest was Southern Utah, and that came in five sets on the final day of the regular season on Nov. 15, 2014.
• The Hornets and Thunderbirds seem to always play close regardless of records as four of the last six meetings have been decided in five sets. That includes a five-set T-Bird win last year in Cedar City.
• Sacramento State is 34-17 all-time against Northern Arizona, including a massive 22-1 mark when playing at home. The Hornets have won five straight against NAU at home, including a dominant 25-15, 25-18, 25-19 victory last year inside the Nest.
• Northern Arizona has eliminated the Hornets in the Big Sky Tournament semifinals each of the last two years, including a 3-1 Lumberjack win a year ago in Grand Forks, N.D.

Hornet Streaks

• Dating back to last year, the Hornets have won 14 consecutive regular season conference matches. The Hornets finished the 2016 season as winners of eight straight league contests.
• Of those 14 straight wins, nine have come via three-set sweep.
• Overall, the Hornets have won six straight, and 12 of the last 14 games.
• The team is 6-0 in the Big Sky for just the second time since joining the league in 1996 (the 2007 team also accomplished the feat).
• With two wins this week, Sacramento State would match its best Big Sky start in school history. The 2007 squad started with an 8-0 record, but dropped its ninth match. That 2007 team also won the Big Sky title and was the last Hornet squad to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
• Sacramento State has won 20 consecutive home matches against Big Sky opposition, a streak which dates back to Sept. 24, 2015.

Winning Streak Numbers

• During the current six-game winning streak, Sacramento State is averaging big numbers in kills (15.00), digs (18.38) and aces (1.86) per set. The team is also averaging 2.29 blocks per set.
• In addition, the Hornets have hit a very respectable .253 during the streak. To put things in perspective, opponents are averaging nearly 2.5 kills per set less than the Hornets (12.62) and are hitting just .196.
• In 21 sets, Sacramento State has 39 aces, including a massive 11 from Kennedy Kurtz.
• The six-rotation outside hitter combination of Mikaela Nocetti (3.62 kps, 3.19 dps) and Shannon Boyle (3.57 kps, 4.43 dps) has been outstanding. Middles Brie Gathright (2.10 kps, .430 hit%) and Lana Brown (2.19 kps, .299 hit%) are both hitting for high percentages.
• Kurtz is hitting a ridiculous .580 (30-1-50) while averaging 1.43 kills, 11.71 assists, 0.52 aces, 2.29 digs and 0.57 blocks per set.

Hornet Notables

• Aided by the fact the Hornets have already played in 88 sets this year, Sacramento State is the national leader in four categories, including kills (1,180), digs (1,482), assists (1,103) and attacks (3,449). The team has moved up to 35th in the nation with 16.84 digs per set.
• In addition, the Hornets have individuals ranking among the nation's top 20 players in many categories. That includes Kennedy Kurtz ranking first with 949 assists and 17th with 33 aces, Shannon Boyle ranking first in attacks (1,025) and 15th in kills (304), Brigitte Murdock 12th with 393 digs, Mikaela Nocetti ranking seventh in attacks (933), and Lana Brown 16th in blocks (95).
• The Hornets have 10 matches remaining on the regular season schedule. They need just five wins to reach the 20-win plateau for the third consecutive season. That would be the program's longest streak since winning 20-plus matches 13 straight years from 1995-2007.
Ruben Volta has used the same starters in every match: Boyle and Nocetti at outside hitter, Brown and Gathright in the middle, Kurtz at setter, Sarah Davis on the right side and Murdock at libero.