VOLLEYBALL RECLAIMS FIRST PLACE AFTER 3-1 VICTORY OVER MONTANA
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Four Sacramento State seniors tallied double figures in kills - Missie Stidham (23), Lindsay Haupt (14), Jennifer Ferguson (13) and Michelle Franz (12) - to lead the Hornets to a 3-1 victory (34-32, 30-32, 30-20, 30-17) over Montana in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Saturday evening at the Hornets Nest.
Prior to the match, Sacramento State seniors Ferguson, Franz, Haupt, Stidham and Alexandra Vidal were honored for their contributions to the program. In addition, head coach Debby Colberg was honored as she coached the final regular-season home match of her illustrious 32-year career. Tonight marked the final regular-season home contest of the season for the Hornets, but the team will return home to host the Big Sky Tournament on Nov. 23-24.
With the victory, Sacramento State improved to 25-6 overall, 12-2 in the Big Sky, and reclaimed the lead in the conference standings. Portland State fell to Eastern Washington tonight and both PSU and EWU are now tied for second with 12-3 records while the Hornets sit in first at 12-2. However, Sacramento State has to play both teams next week on the road, setting up a battle for the conference’s top spot. The winner of the regular season crown will host next year’s Big Sky Tournament.
With the loss, Montana, which is battling Northern Arizona for the sixth and final Big Sky Tournament spot, dropped to 9-15 overall and 5-9 in the conference.
Both teams battled back and forth during the first two games. In the first game, Sacramento State saved two game points at 28-29 and 29-30 before back-to-back kills from Ferguson eventually gave the Hornets a 34-32 victory. In the second game, Montana saved two game points at 27-29 and 28-29 before finally pulling out the 32-30 win.
However, it was all Hornets in games three and four as Sacramento State hit .333 in both frames and was never challenged, opening up large leads.
Stidham’s 23 kills led all players and her 18 digs were a team best. Franz’s 12 kills accompanied a .348 hitting percentage, Haupt had 14 kills, a .353 hitting percentage and match-high tying five blocks, and Ferguson tallied her 21st double-double of the season (13 kills, 14 digs).
Sacramento State had 12 service aces, including five each from Stidham and freshman libero Chelsea Goodsell and the team combined for 35 kills with just nine errors in third and fourth games. Joining Stidham and Ferguson with double-figure digs for the Hornets were junior setter Rose Burke (12) and Goodsell (12).
For Montana, Jade Roskam (22) and Amy Roberts (16) combined for 38 of the team’s 64 kills while both players hit better than .320. Jackie White led all players with 25 digs.
Sacramento State embarks upon its biggest week of the season next week, as the team will play on the road at Eastern Washington (Friday, Nov. 16, 7 p.m.) and Portland State (Saturday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m.). If the Hornets win at Eastern on Friday, they would assure themselves at least a share of the Big Sky’s regular season title.