EASTERN WASHINGTON AND SACRAMENTO STATE WILL SQUARE FOR THE BIG SKY VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SATURDAY
Down 2-1, Hornets come back to take games four and five, 15-9, 15-10
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In the semifinals of the Big Sky Volleyball Tournament
Friday night, No. 3-seed Eastern Washington defeated No. 2 Northern
Arizona, 3-0 (15-10, 17-15, 15-4), and No. 1 Sacramento State beat No. 4
Montana State, 3-2 (11-15, 15-6, 12-15, 15-9, 15-10), as both the Eagles
and Hornets advance to the championship match Saturday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m.,
in Hornet Gym. With the losses, the Lumberjacks and Bobcats were eliminated.
Five players recorded double-figures in kills for the Hornets who improved
their record on the season to 20-11. The team has now advanced to the Big
Sky championship match four times in the last five years. With the loss,
Montana State fell to 21-8. The Hornets were led by junior Tasman Dwyer's
match-high 20 kills while freshman Lisa Beauchene recorded a triple-double
(12 kills, 60 assists, 15 digs). Junior Esther Rogers added 17 kills and 17
digs while sophomore Jayme Wright chipped in 15 kills and 17 digs. Montana
State was led by Stephanie Laya (18 kills, 27 digs) and Anne Watts (17
kills, 14 digs).
After Sacramento State trailed early in game five, 5-4, the team scored 11
of the next 16 points to secure the victory. Sacramento State hit .269 in
the final frame while Montana State recorded a .091 hitting percentage. At
10-8, the Hornets made their run as kills by Kelly Voeltz and Beauchene and
a Bobcat attack error accounted for three-straight points pushing the lead
to 13-8. Rogers' 17th kill of the match finally ended the two-hour,
After four lead changes early on in game four, Sacramento State eventually
pushed its lead to 12-7. The Bobcats got no closer than three points the
rest of the way. With the score tied, 11-11, in game three, consecutive
Hornet attack errors pushed the Bobcats' lead to 13-11 before Laya put the
game away with kills on consecutive plays.
In game two, Sacramento State scored nine unanswered points after the frame
had been tied, 6-6, to win relatively easily.
Watts' five kills paced Montana State to victory in game one as the Bobcats
broke open a 6-6 tie with a streak of five-consecutive points to take an
11-6 lead. The Hornets, who committed five service errors in the game,
could get no closer than two points the rest of the frame.
In the early match, Eastern Washington (18-9) earned the right to play
Saturday with a convincing 3-0 (15-10, 17-15, 15-4) victory over Northern
The Eagles were led by Jennifer Gabel (12 kills) while Robyn Sonju-Felder
(11) and Angie Hall (11) also added double-figures in kills for Eastern
Washington. Northern Arizona was led by Chelsea Robb's 11 kills and 10 digs
while Maggie Barrera added 10 kills to round out the Lumberjacks with
double-figures on the evening.
In the first game, Eastern Washington jumped out to a 9-2 lead and Northern
Arizona could no closer than six points of the rest of the way. Both teams
hit above .300 in the frame as the Eagles hit .366 and the Lumberjacks .324.
Game two featured 10 lead changes as no team opened a lead larger than two
points. After saving a game point at 14-15, Eastern Washington struck for
three-consecutive points on a Lumberjack attack error followed by a Janelle
Ruen kill and a Sonju-Felder ace. With a 6-2 lead in the third frame, the
Eagles scored nine of the next 11 points to seal the victory. Gabel
finished with six kills in the game to lead Eastern Washington.