VOLLEYBALL BEGINS BIGGEST WEEK OF THE SEASON IN SHOWDOWN FOR THE BIG SKY'S REGULAR SEASON TITLE
Sacramento State enters its biggest week of the year as the team concludes the regular season on the road against Eastern Washington (Friday, Nov. 16, 7 p.m.) and Portland State (Saturday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m.). The Hornets are currently in first place in the Big Sky standings with a 12-2 conference record, while Eastern Washington and Portland State are both a half game back with 12-3 marks. So, depending on this week’s outcomes, the Hornets could find themselves anywhere from the No. 1 to the No. 3 seed for next week’s Big Sky Tournament, hosted by Sacramento State on Nov. 23-24.
The Hornets control their own destiny, where if they win both matches this week, they will gain the No. 1 seed for next week’s tournament. In addition, for added incentive, the regular-season champion will host next year’s Big Sky Tournament.
However, should the Hornets lose twice this week, they will drop all the way down to the No. 3 seed where the team would be forced to play a Big Sky Tournament quarterfinal match for the first time since joining the conference in 1996. Sacramento State has always been either the No. 1 or 2 seed at the Big Sky Tournament, and received a first-round bye.
A split this week could still gain the Hornets the regular season championship depending upon the outcome of the matches, the game differential and possibly the point differential. The scenarios for the seedings is described later in this release.
Sacramento State (25-6, 12-2) defeated both Eastern Washington and Portland State earlier this year at home. The Hornets are 7-3 on the road this year, and the team’s only loss to a Big Sky opponent on the road came in a 3-2 defeat at Northern Colorado on Oct. 25. In fact, all six of Sacramento State’s losses this year have come in five games.
Eastern Washington (14-13, 12-3) is the hottest team in the Big Sky, having won eight in a row, including a sweep of Portland State at home last week. The Hornets defeated EWU, 30-27, 30-20, 30-26 earlier this season, and have won eight straight meetings dating back to 2004. Portland State (19-7, 12-3), which plays just once this week, had its five-match winning streak snapped with last week’s loss to the Eagles. Sacramento State defeated Portland State in five games earlier this year and lead the all-time series, 31-12. However, the Vikings have won the last two meetings in Portland.
Tournament Seeding Scenarios
Ties for entry and seeds in the Big Sky Tournament are decided by the results of head-to-head competition between the tied teams. To eliminate ties that may result at the end of the season, teams are seeded into the Big Sky Tournament by using the criteria listed below:
1. Results of head-to-head (match) competition between/among institutions.
2. Percent of total games won between tied teams: games won divided by total games.
3. Scoring margin of games between tied teams: offensive points minus defensive points divided by total games played.
4. Results of competition against the remaining league institutions in descending order (1,2,3, etc.).
5. RPI rating last week prior to the championship.
So, those tiebreaking procedures would lead to the following scenarios for the Hornets.....
• The Hornets win both matches, and they win the Big Sky regular season crown outright.
• The Hornets lose both matches, and they will be the No. 3 seed for the Big Sky Tournament.
• A win over Eastern Washington on Friday would ensure Sacramento State a tie for the regular season title. That would set up Saturday night’s showdown against Portland State. If the Vikings beat the Hornets in three or four games, Portland State would win the tiebreaker and be crowned regular season champions based on winning the score in games, 5-3 or 5-4, since the Hornets won, 3-2, earlier in the year. Should Portland State win in five games, it would come down to point differential among the teams, where Sacramento State currently leads, 125-117.
• Should Sacramento State lose to Eastern Washington on Friday and beat Portland State on Saturday, the Eagles would only win the regular season crown if they not only sweep Sacramento State, but overcome the 90-73 disparity in points they currently have against the Hornets (SAC won 30-27, 30-20, 30-26 earlier this year). So, if Sacramento State loses to Eastern Washington, 3-1 or 3-2, and return the following night to beat Portland State, the Hornets would win the regular season title.
Broadcast/Live Stats Information
Eastern Washington (www.goeags.com) and Portland State (www.goviks.com) will both offer live stats of this week’s matches via their websites. Portland State will also offer live audio. Video stream of each match can also be accessed at www.bigskytv.org for a fee.
Head Coach Debby Colberg
After nearly 32 years at Sacramento State which include 824 victories, two national titles, 19 NCAA Tournament appearances, 17 conference championships and 15 coach of the year awards, head coach Debby Colberg announced in August that the 2007 season will mark the end of her illustrious career. Currently fourth among active Div. I coaches in total victories (824-290, .740 winning percentage), Colberg has coached just two losing squads during her 32-year tenure and her teams have averaged 25.8 wins per season during that span. She will be inducted into the AVCA Hall of Fame on Dec. 13 at the Jostens Coaches Honors Luncheon during the Final Four in Sacramento.
The coach with the best career winning percentage in any sport at Sacramento State, Colberg is currently in her 17th season as a Division I coach. The long coaching sojourn has taken Colberg through the ranks, from AIAW play (1976-80), through Division II (1981-90) and currently Division I (1991-pres.). She has led Sacramento State to winning seasons in 15 of the 16 Division I years, and has compiled a 405-172 (.702) record over that span. That includes five straight and nine NCAA Div. I Tournament appearances in the last 10 years (1997-00, 2002-06). The Hornets have now rattled off 13 consecutive 20-win seasons and 26 overall seasons with at least 20 victories.
The recipient of 15 coach of the year awards (one national, four regional and 10 conference), Colberg also had the added responsibility of serving as Sacramento State’s Athletics Director, a position she held from February of 1999 until June of 2002.
Volta To Take Over Head Coaching Duties in 2008
Athletics director Terry Wanless announced on Oct. 4 that associate head coach Ruben Volta will take over the Sacramento State head coaching duties next season. Current head coach Debby Colberg announced in August that she would retire at the end of this year.
Volta is in his eighth season on Colberg’s coaching staff, and fifth as the team’s top assistant. A graduate of Sacramento State and a 1995 All-American for the Hornet men’s volleyball team, Volta has 14 years of coaching experience under his belt. He owned and operated the High Voltage volleyball facility in Sacramento from 1995-02, a club that produced eventual Sacramento State all-conference selections Sandra Bandimere, Tasman Dwyer, Kazmiera Imrie and Michelle Franz.
Joining the 1,000 - 1,000 Club
The longest tenured Hornet and this year’s team captain, fifth-year senior outside hitter Jennifer Ferguson recently joined the 1,000 career kills and digs club. With 1,099 kills and 1,544 digs, she is just the ninth player in Sacramento State history to join the club, and the second in the last five years (along with Atlee Hubbard). Among Big Sky leaders this season, Ferguson is second in double-doubles (20), fifth in kills (3.49 per game) and 10th in digs (4.00 per game).
Full Stidham Ahead
After being named all-West Coast Conference during each of her first three years at Saint Mary’s, senior outside hitter Missie Stidham decided to transfer to Sacramento State for her senior season. So far, Stidham’s decision to transfer has paid dividends for the Hornets. In fact, Stidham has already been named Big Sky Player of the Week a conference-leading four times (Sept. 3, Sept. 17, Sept. 24 and Nov. 12) and was the AVCA National Player of the Week on Sept. 17, becoming the first Hornet to achieve the honor during the Div. I era.
The Fresno, Calif., native is first on the Hornets, second in the Big Sky and 12th in the nation with 5.04 kills per game. She also leads the Big Sky with 26 double-doubles (kills and digs), five more than any other player in the conference. Her season total of 570 kills are the third best mark in Sacramento State single-season history and the most by a Hornet since 1996.
Haupt Sweet It Is
Senior middle hitter Lindsay Haupt is currently enjoying the best season of her illustrious four-year career, posting career highs in both kills per game (3.67) and hitting percentage (.365). She has already been named Big Sky Player of the Week three times this season, and was named all-tournament at all four preseason tournaments in which the Hornets played. The Etna, Calif., native has posted double figures in kills in all but four matches and has hit better than .400 on 18 occasions. Among Big Sky leaders, she is first in hitting percentage, second in blocks (1.36) and fourth in kills.
Currently the holder of a .334 career hitting percentage, Haupt’s 1,281 career kills are the most by a Hornet middle hitter during the program’s Div. I history (1991-pres.), surpassing the previous mark of 1,219 held by Tasman Dwyer (1998-01). During Haupt’s four-year career, she has already won one Big Sky MVP award (2005), two Big Sky Tournament MVPs (2005, 2006) and three Big Sky all-academic awards (2004-06).
Freshman Maddison Thivierge replaced senior Desireé Hoyum as the team’s starting rightside hitter on Saturday against Montana...Sacramento State leads the Big Sky in kills (16.30 kpg), digs (19.18 dpg), hitting percentage (.239) and assists (14.68 apg)...among the nation’s leaders, the digs are 19th, the kills are 31st and the team’s winning percentage of .806 is the 25th best mark.