VOLLEYBALL INCHES CLOSER TO BIG SKY TOURNAMENT BERTH WITH VICTORY OVER MONTANA STATE
BOZEMAN, Mont. -- Senior Brittany Ferguson had eight kills and a .462 hitting percentage and sophomore Maddison Thivierge added five kills and a .500 hitting percentage to help lead Sacramento State to a 3-0 victory (25-19, 25-19, 25-17) over Montana State in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Friday evening at Shroyer Gym.
With the victory, Sacramento State improved to 9-20 overall and 7-6 in the Big Sky. The Hornets, who won just their second road match all season, inched closer to clinching a berth in the Big Sky Tournament for the 13th consecutive season (every year since joining the league in 1996).
The top six teams in the nine-member conference reach the Big Sky Tournament (Nov. 28-29 in Portland), and the Hornets are now in a three-way tie for fourth place with Montana (7-6) and Weber State (7-6). In addition, Sacramento State moved to two and a half games ahead of seventh-place Northern Arizona (5-9), and the Hornets need to win just one of their remaining three regular season matches to clinch a berth in the postseason event.
The Hornets will play at Montana tomorrow night at 6 p.m. PST, and that match could go a long way into positioning for the Big Sky Tournament. Sacramento State and Montana are tied with identical records (7-6) with tomorrow’s winner moving one game ahead of the loser. The Hornets defeated the Grizzlies earlier this year in a hard-fought five-set battle in Sacramento (15-13 in the fifth set).
Tonight’s win also snapped a three-match losing streak, and the Hornets improved to 2-11 on the road, and 4-16 in matches played outside of Sacramento. Montana State dropped to 3-21 overall and 0-14 in the conference as the Bobcats are looking to avoid their second consecutive winless season in conference play. The Hornets re now 31-5 all-time against the Bobcats, including 11 straight wins in the series dating back to 2004.
Sacramento State limited Montana State to just a .026 hitting percentage as the Bobcats almost had as many attack errors (22) as kills (25) in 115 total attacks. In fact, the Hornets led the Bobcats in hitting percentage (.174-.026), kills (35-25), digs (55-50) and total blocks (7.0-3.0).
Ferguson and senior Desiree Hoyum each had eight kills to lead Sacramento State. Freshman Kelsey Elston added six kills and a match-high five blocks, senior Rose Burke had four kills, 28 assists and three blocks, and senior Katie Van Der Wende had a match-high tying 18 digs. Freshman Eryn Kirby and senior Melissa Melcher each had nine digs. A total of 12 Hornets appeared in the match.
Kyla Hendry led all players with nine kills for Montana State and Meghan Albiston added 18 digs.
After tomorrow night’s contest against Montana, Sacramento State has just two remaining regular season matches, and both those will come at home next week against Eastern Washington (Friday, Nov. 21, 7 p.m.) and Portland State (Saturday, Nov. 22, 7 p.m.). Portland State is currently in first place in the league standings with an 11-3 record while Eastern Washington sits in a tie for second with a 10-4 league mark. The Hornets defeated the Vikings in five sets earlier this year in Portland, and fell to Eastern Washington in five sets in Cheney, Wash.