VOLLEYBALL WINS FIFTH STRAIGHT BIG SKY TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP OVER EASTERN WASHINGTON
SACRAMENTO, Calif.. -- Senior Atlee Hubbard (14 kills, 15 digs), juniors Lindsay Haupt (14 kills, 10 blocks) and Jennifer Ferguson (12 kills, 14 digs) and sophomore Rose Burke (24 assists, 18 digs) each posted double-doubles to lead Sacramento State to a 3-1 victory (30-18, 30-25, 22-30, 30-21) over Eastern Washington in the Big Sky Conference Volleyball Tournament championship match Saturday evening at the Hornets Nest.
Sacramento State will now receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, and will be making its ninth appearance at the NCAA postseason event in the last 10 years. The Hornets will find out where and who they will play when the NCAA announces its selections for the tournament on Sunday, Nov. 26, between 12:00 and 12:30 p.m. PST. The selection show will be aired live on ESPNEWS. The NCAA Tournament’s first and second rounds will take place Nov. 30-Dec. 3.
With the victory, Sacramento State won its fifth-consecutive Big Sky Tournament championship and eighth since joining the Big Sky in 11 years (1997-98, 2000, 2002-06). The Hornets defeated Eastern Washington in the tournament championship match for the fifth-straight year and the seventh time in the last nine years. The last time the Hornets and Eagles did not face each other in the Big Sky Tournament championship match was 1999.
Owner of the nation’s 17th-best winning percentage, Sacramento State (30-5) has now won either the Big Sky’s regular season and/or tournament championship an unprecedented 10 straight years, a remarkable run that has seen the Hornets post a 139-27 record against Big Sky competition in the regular season, and an 18-3 mark in the conference tournament.
The Hornets, who won this year’s Big Sky regular season championship and the right to host the tournament, have now won seven matches in a row, and 18 of the last 19. Sacramento State’s 30 victories are the most since the 1995 squad posted a 35-4 record, and the ninth time in school history the team has won at least 30 matches. In addition, head coach Debby Colberg, currently in her 31st season at Sacramento State, is now one victory shy of her 800th win, as her record stands at 799-283. That 800th win could come in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in two weeks.
Eastern Washington (20-9) has its season come to an end, as the Eagles fell just short of winning a Big Sky Tournament championship yet again. Despite reaching the Big Sky Tournament championship match each of the last seven years, the Eagles have won just one title during that span, beating Sacramento State in 2001. EWU had won six matches in a row and 13 of 14 prior to tonight’s loss. In fact, Eastern Washington’s only three losses since Sept. 28 have all come to Sacramento State.
Haupt was named the tournament MVP for the second consecutive year after finishing the tourney with 3.57 kills and 1.71 blocks per game while hitting .360. Hubbard (4.14 kills and 4.57 digs per game) and junior middle hitter Michelle Franz (3.00 kills and 1.43 blocks per game, team-high .450 hitting percentage) joined Haupt as the three Hornets on the all-tournament team.
Franz joined Hubbard, Ferguson and Haupt with double figures in kills as the junior finished 13 kills, four blocks and a .571 hitting percentage. Sacramento State finished with 16.0 team blocks, including six from senior Leah Klemenhagen and three more from freshman Anna Schoener.
Eastern Washington led the Hornets in kills (63-61), assists (61-57) and digs (101-93), but the Eagles hit just .152, and had zero aces compared to 13 service errors. Sacramento State won games one, two and four with relative ease, and Eastern Washington posted an easy third-game victory.
Eight different Hornets had at least one kill, and junior libero Kristin Lutes tallied a match-high tying 30 digs. Schoener had four kills and a .300 hitting percentage (4-1-10) to go along with her three blocks.
Eastern Washington’s Brittney Page (15 kills, 15 digs) and Addie Webster (12 kills, 24 digs) were each named to the all-tournament team. Chrystal Johnson led the Eagles with 18 kills and 12 digs.
Sacramento State will not play again until the team’s first round match in the NCAA Tournament which will take place either Nov. 30 or Dec. 1.
BIG SKY ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Lindsay Haupt (Sacramento State) - MVP
Atlee Hubbard (Sacramento State)
Michelle Franz (Sacramento State)
Brittney Page (Eastern Washington)
Addie Webster (Eastern Washington)
Jessica Frederick (Portland State)
Taryn Wright (Montana)