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The Week Ahead....Big Sky Tournament
• For the 17th time since joining the Big Sky in 1996, Sacramento State (24-8, 15-1) will play in the Big Sky Tournament. And for the first time since 2007, the Hornets will host the eight-team, single-elimination postseason event after winning the league's regular season championship.
• Sacramento State also won its second consecutive Big Sky South Division title, and was at least three games better than any other of the 11 teams in the entire Big Sky Conference.
• The Big Sky Tournament appearance is the third straight for the Hornets as Sacramento State has lost in the semifinals each of the last two years to Northern Arizona.
• This year marks the sixth different location in six years for the Big Sky Tournament, including Grand Forks (2016), Flagstaff (2015), Pocatello (2014), Portland (2013) and Greeley (2012).
• The postseason tournament (Nov. 16-18) includes the top eight teams in the 12-member Big Sky, and features four quarterfinal matches on Thursday, two semifinal matchups on Friday, and the championship will take place on Saturday at 8 p.m.
• Sacramento State is hosting the Big Sky Tournament for the ninth time (2005-07, 1997-01), and has won the championship six of the eight times it has hosted the event inside the Nest.
• The Hornets are the No. 1 seed and will play No. 8 Northern Colorado (7-9) on Thursday at 7 p.m. Should the Hornets win that match, they would advance to play in the semifinals on Friday at 7 p.m., and another win would land the team in the championship match on Saturday at 8 p.m.
• The seeds are as follows: No. 1 Sacramento State (15-1), No. 2 North Dakota (12-4), No. 3 Idaho (12-4), No. 4 Portland State (11-5), No. 5 Northern Arizona (9-7), No. 6 Idaho State (8-8), No. 7 Weber State (7-9) and No. 8 Northern Colorado (7-9).
• The winner of the Sacramento State-Northern Colorado matchup will play the winner of the Portland State-Northern Arizona contest in the semis on Friday. The other semifinal will be at 4:30 p.m.
• Other quarterfinal matches on Thursday include North Dakota vs. Weber State at 11 a.m., Idaho vs. Idaho State at 1:30 p.m., and Portland State vs. Northern Arizona at 4:30 p.m.
• The winner of the championship match receives an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
• The NCAA Tournament has taken just one team from the Big Sky 17 consecutive years, and Sacramento State is looking for its first trip to the Dance since the 2007 team advanced to the second round.
Multimedia Options For The Tournament
• There are multiple ways to watch all seven matches of the tournament, including watchbigsky.com and Pluto.tv which is a free online television service that is available on Roku, Amazon Fire, laptops, iOS and Androids. All seven games during the tournament will air on Pluto TV channel 231.
• In addition, the semifinals and championship match will be televised to a national audience via Eleven Sports. The broadcast crew for the semis and championship game will be Kate Scott on play-by-play and former Cal head coach Rich Feller providing the color.
• Sacramento State assistant athletics director Brian Berger will handle the play-by-play duties for the four quarterfinal matches on Thursday.
• Live stats will also be made available for every match of the tournament.
• The tournament home page is set up at bigskyconf.com by clicking here.
Hornets at the Big Sky Tournament
• Currently in their 22nd season in the Big Sky, the Hornets are making their 17th appearance at the Big Sky Tournament, and have posted a 22-7 record at the postseason event.
• The Hornets have won the Big Sky Tournament title nine times (1997-98, 2000, 2002-07).
• That included a run of 12 consecutive victories spanning six years from 2002-07.
• Of the team's 16 appearances at the tournament thus far, Sacramento State has reached the championship match 11 times with the only exceptions coming in 1999, 2008, 2011, 2015 and 2016.
• Also, of those 16 appearances, the Hornets failed to reach at least the semifinals just once (2008).
vs. Tournament Field (this year, all-time, Big Sky Tourney)
• #2 North Dakota: Went 1-0 vs. UND this year, 3-6 all-time, never played in Big Sky Tourney.
• #3 Idaho: Went 1-0 this year, 4-3 all-time, never played in Big Sky Tourney.
• #4 Portland State: Went 2-0 this year, 44-22 all-time, 1-1 in Big Sky Tourney.
• #5 Northern Arizona: Went 1-1 vs. NAU this year, 35-18 all-time, 2-2 in Big Sky Tourney.
• #6 Idaho State: Went 2-0 this year, 32-13 all-time, never played in Big Sky Tourney.
• #7 Weber State: Went 2-0 this year, 37-10 all-time, never played in the Big Sky Tourney.
• #8 Northern Colorado: Went 1-0 vs. UNC this year, 13-13 all-time, 1-1 in Big Sky Tourney.
Riding A Historic Season
• Prior to the loss at Northern Arizona three weeks ago, the Hornets had won 10 straight matches overall, and 18 consecutive regular season conference matches. The 10-game winning streak was the second longest in the last 10 years. The 18 straight regular season conference wins was the second longest streak in school history, trailing the 20 straight put up during parts of 2005 and 2006.
• Sacramento State's 15-1 conference record ties for the program's best mark since joining the league in 1996. The 1998 and 2006 squads also accomplished the feat.
• The Hornets have currently won 24 consecutive home matches against Big Sky opposition, and have not lost to a league foe at home since 2014. That's three straight 8-0 seasons at home.
• Sacramento State has won at least 20 matches three straight seasons, and over that span, has combined for a 70-27 overall record and a 40-8 mark in Big Sky play.
• With the Big Sky regular season championship already in hand, Sacramento State has now won the conference's regular season and/or tournament titles in 12 different seasons (1997-07, 2017).
• The Hornets enter the Big Sky Tournament as winners of five straight, 15 of the last 16, and 21 of the last 24 contests.
• One of the most prolific setters in school history, senior Kennedy Kurtz is currently second all-time in Big Sky Conference history with 5,339 assists. The No. 1 spot, which will likely never be touched, is held by former Hornet setter Maureen Rafferty, who had 6,510 assists from 1996-99. Kurtz's current mark of 1,453 assists this season are easily the most by any player in the nation and she is attempting to become just the fifth setter in school history to amass 1,500 assists in a season.
• Two weeks ago, senior outside hitter Shannon Boyle (1,060 kills, 1,039 digs) became the 12th Hornet in the last 30 years to reach the 1,000 kills/1,000 digs milestone. The last Sacramento State player to accomplish the feat had been outside hitter Janelle Currey in 2012.
• Ruben Volta has used the same starters in all 32 matches this season: Shannon Boyle and Mikaela Nocetti at outside hitter, Lana Brown and Brie Gathright in the middle, Kennedy Kurtz at setter, Sarah Davis on the right side and Brigitte Murdock at libero.
• With a win on Thursday, the Hornets would hit the 25-win mark for the 21st time in school history. However, during the Div. I era (1991-pres.), only eight teams have accomplished the feat (1993, 1995, 1998, 2004-07, 2015).