VOLLEYBALL HOSTS BIG SKY TOURNAMENT THIS FRIDAY-SATURDAY
The Big Sky Conference Volleyball Tournament (Nov. 23-24) features the top six teams in the nine-member league. The seeds for the tournament are as follows: No. 1 Portland State (20-7, 13-3), No. 2 Sacramento State (26-7, 13-3), No. 3 Eastern Washington (14-14, 12-4), No. 4 Weber State (15-12, 11-5), No. 5 Northern Colorado (10-19, 8-8) and No. 6 Northern Arizona (12-14, 7-9). Montana, Idaho State and Montana State each did not qualify for the tournament. By virtue of owning the top two seeds, both Portland State and Sacramento State will receive a first round bye in the single-elimination tournament. Sacramento State is the host institution by virtue of winning last year’s regular season championship.
On Friday, Nov. 23, Weber State and Northern Colorado will square off in the first quarterfinal at 9:30 a.m., and Eastern Washington and Northern Arizona will battle each other at 11:30 a.m.
In the semifinals on Friday evening, Portland State will take on the lowest remaining seed (Weber State, Northern Colorado or Northern Arizona) at 5:30 p.m., and Sacramento State will face the highest remaining seed (Eastern Washington, Weber State or Northern Colorado) at 7:30 p.m. The winners of the two semifinal matches will play for the conference championship and an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament on Saturday at 7 p.m.
The NCAA has taken just one team from the Big Sky in 15 of the last 16 years, making the automatic berth that much more important. Sacramento State has been the only team from the Big Sky to appear in the Big Dance each of the last five years despite Eastern Washington combining for a 114-36 record over that span (including a No. 24 final ranking in the 2002 top 25 poll). Three Big Sky teams appeared in the 1999 NCAA Tournament comprised of Northern Arizona, Sacramento State and Eastern Washington.
Broadcast/Live Stats Information
All five matches during the conference tournament can be heard live on www.hornetsports.com by clicking on the Multimedia link and scrolling down to the volleyball schedule. Brian Berger and J.D. Fox will each call matches during the tournament. Live statistics during each match can also be accessed along the left column of the volleyball page of hornetsports.com. Live video of every match can be accessed for a fee by logging onto www.bigskytv.org.
Ticket Prices For the Tournament
Friday, November 23
Adults: $8 per session*
Youth (Ages 3-17): $5 per session*
Students/Faculty/Staff with valid ID: $5 per session*
Seniors 65-over: $5 per session*
Children under 3: Free
* The first session includes the quarterfinals (9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. matches), and the second session includes the semifinals (5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. matches).
Saturday November 24
Youth (Ages 3-17): $5
Students/Faculty/Staff with valid ID: $5
Seniors 65-over: $5
Children under 3: Free
Hornets At The Big Sky Tournament
Since joining the Big Sky Conference in 1996, Sacramento State has reached the league’s postseason event every season, and has posted an 18-3 record at the tournament. That includes Big Sky Tournament titles in 1997-98, 2000, and 2002-06. The team has reached the tournament’s championship match every year except 1999 (loss to Cal State Northridge in the semifinals) and the Hornets have been either the No. 1 or 2 seed every season.
Amazingly, Sacramento State has faced Eastern Washington in the championship eight times, with the Hornets coming out on top on seven of those occasions (EWU’s lone title came in 2001). That includes matchups between the two teams each of the last seven years. For the first time since 1999, the Hornets and Eagles are assured of not facing each other in the title match this year. Sacramento State is the No. 2 seed and Eastern Washington is the 3 seed, making it impossible for the teams to match up in the championship. However, the two teams could renew their rivalry in the semifinals if Eastern Washington defeats Northern Arizona in the quarterfinals.
Brief Look At The Hornets
Sacramento State (26-7, 13-3) had its four-match winning streak snapped with Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Portland State. The Hornets are 11-3 at home this season, with the only losses coming to Oregon State, Nevada and Weber State. The loss to Weber State snapped a 59-match winning streak in regular-season home matches against conference competition, a streak which dated back to 1999. Since that loss, however, the Hornets have defeated their the last three opponents at home by a combined 9-1 margin. The team currently leads the nine-member Big Sky Conference in hitting percentage (.237), assists (14.70 apg), kills (16.29 kpg) and digs (19.30). The Hornets are a combined 7-3 against teams that reached this year’s Big Sky Tournament, including a 2-0 mark against both Eastern Washington and Northern Arizona. The Hornets are 1-1 against the other three teams.
Head Coach Debby Colberg
After nearly 32 years at Sacramento State which include 825 victories, two national titles, 19 NCAA Tournament appearances, 18 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 (825-291, .739 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 406-173 (.701) 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.
With 1,122 kills and 1,582 digs, senior Jennifer Ferguson is just the ninth player in Sacramento State history to record over 1,000 career kills and digs...senior outside hitter Missie Stidham, who tied a program record by receiving five Big Sky Player of the Week awards, currently has the third most kills (626) in Sacramento State single-season history...senior middle hitter Lindsay Haupt, who is already the owner of two Big Sky Tournament MVP awards, has 1,309 career kills, the most by a Hornet middle hitter in the program’s Div. I history.