VOLLEYBALL HOSTS SACRAMENTO STATE INVITATIONAL THIS FRIDAY AND SATURDAY
The Week Ahead
After opening the year by going 1-2 at last week’s Hampton Inn & Suites West Ashley Invitational in South Carolina, the Hornets begin their home portion of the schedule when the team hosts the 10th-annual Sacramento State Invitational this Friday-Saturday, Aug. 31-Sept. 1.
This year’s tournament features four teams and six matches over two days. The field includes the Hornets (Big Sky Conference), Boise State (Mountain West Conference), Saint Mary’s (West Coast Conference) and Morgan State (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference).
Each team will play three matches during the round-robin tournament and a champion will be declared on the final day of competition based on record. Should two or more teams be tied for the top record, a series of tiebreakers will be used to declare the champion. An all-tournament team will be announced at the conclusion of the final match on Saturday.
The tournament schedule for Friday features matches at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sacramento State will play the 6:30 p.m. match against Boise State. Saturday’s schedule features matches at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The Hornets will play Saturday at 1 p.m. against Morgan State, and 7:30 p.m. against Saint Mary’s. Both Boise State and Morgan State are making their first-ever appearance at the tournament while Saint Mary’s will be making its second appearance (2008).
The Sacramento State Invitational home page can be accessed by clicking here.
Tickets for the tournament are available for purchase on the days of the event outside of The Nest (Colberg Court), located in Yosemite Hall on the Sacramento State campus. One-day passes are $10 for adults (ages 19 and over), $6 for youth (ages 13-18) and kids 12 and under are free. Single-match tickets will only be made available for Sacramento State’s 6:30 p.m. match on Friday, and the 7:30 p.m. match on Saturday. Prices for the matches Friday and Saturday night are $8 for adult, $5 for youth, and kids are free.
This week marks the beginning of another year of Big Sky TV, which offers fans free live video streams of every Sacramento State volleyball home match, and every contest played in a Big Sky venue. All three Hornet matches this week, and 23 of the final 27 matches of the regular season will be aired live and free via video stream by clicking here. Brian Berger will provide the audio play-by-play of both the Boise State and Saint Mary’s matchups this week. Live stats are offered for all home matches by clicking here. Links for all multimedia options (video, audio, live stats) can be accessed on the volleyball schedule at www.hornetsports.com.
Big Sky’s Most Successful Team
Sacramento State’s 10 NCAA Div. I Tournament appearances are six more than any other current Big Sky Conference member. The Hornets have reached the NCAA’s postseason event 10 times in the last 15 years (1997-00, 2002-07), but will be looking for their first trip to the Dance since 2007. That 2007 squad defeated Minnesota in the first round of the tournament. In addition, the team has compiled a 184-62 conference record since joining the Big Sky in 1996, and a 467-247 record since joining the Div. I ranks in 1991.
- Traditionally one of the best defensive teams in the nation, Sacramento State got off to a slow start on the defensive end last week, averaging just 13.80 digs per set in three matches. Though still early in the year, the program usually averages around 18 digs per set. Last season’s squad ranked ninth in the nation in digs per set (18.39).
- Injuries have not been kind to the Hornets thus far as middle blockers Ashley Newcomb (ankle) and Olivia Moss (Achilles), and outside hitter Sloan Lovett (foot) are all battling nagging injuries. Rightside hitter Kiley Mansfield did not play last week and her return is uncertain because of a shoulder injury. In addition, middle blocker Chelcy Motes did not play last week for reasons unrelated to injury.
- Senior outside hitter Jessie Genger got her season off to an impressive start, averaging 4.40 kills, 2.40 digs and 0.70 aces per set while hitting .289 in her first career starts at outside hitter. Genger played on the right side last year, garnering just two starts, before making the transition to the outside this season. She has led the team in kills in all three matches, and is tops in the Big Sky Conference in kills.
- Though the team hasn’t dug a ton of balls, the Hornets are blocking well. Sacramento State is averaging 2.90 team blocks per set, and have three players ranked among the Big Sky’s top six in blocks per set, comprised of Olivia Moss (1st, 1.50), Kayla Beal (T-4th, 1.40) and Ashley Newcomb (6th, 1.30). In addition, Chanel Coleman is averaging 1.00 blocks per set.
- Libero Sydney Kordic already has 11 aces this year (1.10 per set), which is four more than any other player in the Big Sky. That includes six against Jacksonville, which tied for the third best mark in Sacramento State single-match history.
- Sophomore middle blocker Ashley Newcomb, who redshirted last season, has already set single-match career highs in kills (8), attempts (15), hitting percentage (.667), digs (4) and blocks (7).
- Junior setter Hannah Hettinga currently leads the Big Sky with 11.40 assists per set. She had better than 40 assists twice last week (including a career-high 45 against Jacksonville) after entering the year with a career high of 36 assists.
- Dating back to the first match of last season, the Hornets are 17-1 when limiting the opposition to a hitting percentage below .165, and 1-16 when the opposition hits .165 or better.