VOLLEYBALL PLAYS TWO AT HOME THIS WEEK, KIDS DAY ON TAP FOR FRIDAY
Ashley Newcomb's 11 blocks at North Dakota were the most by a Hornet since the 2007 season
After enduring a four-match road trip that stretched over two weeks, the Sacramento State volleyball squad (5-10, 1-5) finally returns home this week for Big Sky Conference matchups against Idaho State on Friday and Weber State on Saturday. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m. at Colberg Court. Friday is ScholarShare Kids Day, as members of the Hornet volleyball squad will sign free posters for kids and fans after the match.
Friday’s matchup will mark the Hornets’ first at home since Sept. 15, when the team fell in heartbreaking fashion to Portland State. Sacramento State is 3-2 at home this year, including victories over Boise State, Eastern Washington and Morgan State. The Hornets could use some home cooking as the team has lost five in a row since its win over the Eastern Washington on Sept. 13. Since joining the Big Sky in 1996, Sacramento State is 107-17 against league foes at Colberg Court, including 14-4 dating back to 2010.
The Hornets are currently tied for eighth place in the 11-team conference standings, but just 2.5 games back of sixth-place North Dakota. The top six teams in the conference at the end of the regular season advance to the Big Sky Tournament. The Hornets have reached the league’s postseason event 14 times during the program’s 16-year tenure in the conference.
Idaho State will enter Friday night’s match with a 12-4 overall record and 6-1 mark in the league. The Bengals swept Weber State at home on Wednesday night, and sit alone in second place in the conference standings, a half game behind first-place Portland State (6-0). ISU has won 10 of its last 11 matches with the lone loss during that span coming in five sets at Montana State. The Hornets are 27-6 all-time against the Bengals, including 14-2 when playing in Sacramento. The two teams have split their last eight meetings against each other dating back 2008. Last season, both matches between the two teams went five sets and were decided by 15-13 scores in the fifth, with the road team winning each time.
Weber State will enter Saturday’s match at 7-11 overall and 1-6 in the conference. Counting Wednesday’s loss to Idaho State, the Wildcats have dropped six of their last seven matches. Saturday will mark the team’s fourth straight road match after beginning the conference season with four consecutive home games. Sacramento State is 27-8 all-time against the Wildcats, including a 15-2 mark when playing at Colberg Court. The Hornets have won each of the last four meetings between the two teams, sweeping Weber State at home and on the road in 2010 and 2011.
Like every match played in a Big Sky venue (home or road), a free video stream and live stats will be offered for both matches this week.
THIS WEEK’S MATCHUPS
Sacramento State vs. Idaho State
Friday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m.
Colberg Court - Sacramento, Calif.
Coverage: Live Stats, Live Video
Series Record: Sacramento State Leads, 27-6
Last Meeting: L, 3-2, in Sacramento - Nov. 5, 2011
Sacramento State vs. Weber State
Saturday, Oct. 6, at 7 p.m.
Colberg Court - Sacramento, Calif.
Coverage: Live Stats, Live Video
Series Record: Sacramento State Leads, 27-8
Last Meeting: W, 3-0, in Sacramento - Nov. 4, 2011
- Free Sacramento State volleyball posters will be handed out to fans on Friday night, and can be used for the autograph session afterwards. Every Sacramento State player will be on hand to sign autographs at the conclusion of the match as part of Kids Day, which is sponsored by ScholarShare, California’s 529 College Savings Plan.
- Rightside hitter Kiley Mansfield (6), outside hitter Jessie Genger (5) and setter Hannah Hettinga (1) have combined to miss 12 matches this year because of injury. All three are regulars in the Hornets’ rotation. The Genger injury has had the largest impact as the second-year transfer from Gonzaga was one of the team’s starting outside hitters and team co-captain. Genger has missed the past five matches and Sacramento State is hitting just .093 over that span, including sub-.100 hitting percentages in each of the last four matches. In 10 games with Genger in the lineup, the team was hitting over 100 percentage points better (.197). Through the first two weeks of the season, the Kent, Wash., native was leading the Big Sky with 4.45 kills per set. However, the injury really began to affect her play during the third and fourth weeks of the year, and she has not played since the win over Eastern Washington on Sept. 13.
- Sacramento State is fifth in the nation with an average of 3.07 blocks per set, and the team has three players ranking among the country’s top 150 in that category. Middle blocker Olivia Moss is 19th (1.45 per set), middle blocker Ashley Newcomb is 65th (1.22 per set) and rightside hitter Kayla Beal is 147th (1.05 per set). The three players rank first, fourth and tied for ninth, respectively, in the Big Sky. The Hornets have outblocked their opponent in all but four matches this year, and have recorded at least 10.0 team blocks on 11 occasions. Sacramento State finished 13th in the nation last season with 2.76 blocks per set.
- The Hornets have already gained plenty of experience playing in close sets this season. Sacramento State has played in 20 different sets that were decided by three points or less. In fact,over 35 percent of the team’s 56 sets played have resulted in two or three-point outcomes. Recently, the team has struggled in close sets, dropping five straight and six of the last seven that resulted in two or three-point outcomes. Overall, the team is 8-12 in such sets.
- All 15 players on Sacramento State’s roster have played this season, and 10 different players have started at least one match. Outside hitter Janelle Currey, rightside hitter Kayla Beal and middle blocker Ashley Newcomb are the only players to start every match thus far.
- Outside hitter Janelle Currey has now started each of the Hornets’ last 111 matches dating back to the first match of her career in 2009. The fourth-year senior, three-time team captain and three-time Big Sky all-academic selection currently sits in 10th place in Sacramento State’s career record book with 1,480 digs. In addition, her 1,247 kills are just 26 shy of breaking into the top 10 on that list as well. She is already one of just 11 Hornets since 1985 to join the 1,000 kills/1,000 digs club.
- Saturday will feature the Big Sky’s top two serving teams as Idaho State is currently first in the league with 1.47 aces per set while Sacramento State is second at 1.45 per set. The Hornets are also 50th in the nation in aces per set.
- Libero Sydney Kordic now sits second in the Big Sky with 0.45 aces per set, and third with 4.73 digs per set. Kordic’s career-high 34 digs at North Dakota also tied for the 12th best mark in school single-match history.
- Defensive specialist Katelyn Ivy, who had a season-best eight digs at Northern Colorado, has just one error in 43 total service receptions, good for a .977 percentage.
- Over her last two matches, middle blocker Olivia Moss is averaging 1.83 kills and 1.67 blocks per set to go along with a .280 hitting percentage.
- Setter Hannah Hettinga has posted double figures in digs in three of her last four matches, and is now fourth on the team with an average of 2.28 digs per set.
- Middle blocker Ashley Newcomb’s 11 blocks at North Dakota were the most by a Sacramento State player since Lindsay Haupt had 11 against Eastern Washington on Nov. 16, 2007. Earlier that season, Haupt had 13 against Cal State Northridge on Sept. 8, 2007.
- In her second start of the season last Saturday at North Dakota, freshman outside hitter Sloan Lovett posted a season-best nine digs while finishing two kills shy (9) of a season best (11, set at Northern Arizona) in that category.
- Rightside hitter Kayla Beal has at least nine kills in six straight matches, and is averaging a team-high 2.70 kills per set over that six-match span.