VOLLEYBALL FALLS TO 5-4 IN THE BIG SKY WITH FIVE-SET LOSS TO NORTHERN COLORADO
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Northern Colorado’s Kenzie Shreeve had four of her match-high 18 kills in the fifth and final set to lead the Bears to a 3-2 victory (25-20, 25-18, 16-25, 24-26, 15-9) over Sacramento State in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Friday evening at Colberg Court.
Sacramento State clawed its way back from a two-set deficit, including a 14-7 deficit in the fourth set, to force a fifth and decisive frame. However, Northern Colorado hit .368 in the fifth set with seven kills and no errors in 19 attacks. Sacramento State hit .103 with five attack errors, two service errors and a ball-handling error. The Bears jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the fifth and never trailed the rest of the way. Sacramento State tied the score at 5-5, 6-6, 7-7 and 8-8, but could never take a lead.
With the victory, Northern Colorado (15-5, 9-2) strengthened its lead atop the Big Sky standings, and moved one game ahead of second-place Portland State (8-3). In addition, the Bears have now defeated the Hornets three straight times dating back to last season, and remain the only team in the Big Sky with a winning streak better than one match against Sacramento State.
The Hornets (7-17, 5-4), who were playing for the first time in 13 days, are now tied for fourth in the Big Sky standings with Montana (6-5). The top six teams in the nine-member league advance to the Big Sky Tournament, and Sacramento State has seven conference matches remaining on the schedule. The Hornets are a half game ahead of sixth-place Northern Arizona (5-5), who they play tomorrow night at home at 7 p.m. Sacramento State has now played five Big Sky matches that have lasted five sets, and has gone 3-2 over those five contests.
“Coming off our bye week, we hadn’t played a regular season match in two weeks, and I think we lost that competitive spirit the first two sets and dug ourselves in a big hole,” Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. “We regained our competitive edge in the third and fourth sets, but they really served us tough and played very good defense in the fifth set.”
Northern Colorado outhit (.249-.191), outdug (103-89), and had six more kills than Sacramento State (66-60). The Bears served tough throughout the evening, forcing Sacramento State into seven reception errors. The Hornets had 10 blocks, including a season-high seven from freshman Kelsey Elston and six stuffs from senior setter Rose Burke, but it was not enough.
Four Sacramento State players had double figures in kills, comprised of junior Desiree Hoyum (17 kills, 20 digs), freshman Eryn Kirby (13), senior Brittany Ferguson (12) and sophomore Maddison Thivierge (10). Junior right back Melissa Melcher was seemingly all over the court throughout the evening, finishing with a career-high 20 digs, easily surpassing her previous career high of 12. Burke also had four kills, 48 assists and 12 digs to go along with her six blocks. Senior libero Katie Van Der Wende finished with 19 digs.
For Northern Colorado, Shreeve’s 18 kills accompanied 19 digs. Allison Raguse finished with 17 kills, five blocks and a .394 hitting percentage, and Breanna Vandermost led all players with 27 digs.
After tomorrow night’s home match against Northern Arizona, Sacramento State will play its next five contests on the road, beginning with its last remaining non-conference match of the season on Tuesday, Nov. 4, at Pacific.