VOLLEYBALLS DROPS TO 7-7 IN THE BIG SKY WITH LOSS AT MONTANA
MISSOULA, Mont. -- Montana’s Jaimie Thibeault led all players with 11 kills, and Sacramento State was limited to just a .062 hitting percentage as the Grizzlies defeated the Hornets, 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-23), in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Saturday evening at the West Auxiliary Gym.
With the loss, Sacramento State dropped to 9-21 overall and 7-7 in the Big Sky. The Hornets fell to sixth place in the league standings, one game behind both Montana (8-6) and Weber State (8-6). With just two matches remaining in the regular season, both Weber State and Montana own the tiebreaker over Sacramento State should they finish the season with the same record. The top six teams in the nine-member league advance to the Big Sky Tournament, which begins on Nov. 28 in Portland.
In addition, Northern Arizona, which defeated Idaho State tonight and remains in the seventh place, moved to within one and a half games of Sacramento State as the two teams look to be battling for the last remaining playoff spot. The Hornets need to win just one of their remaining two matches to clinch a spot in the postseason event for the 13th consecutive season, and will play at home next week against Portland State (11-4) and Eastern Washington (11-4). Northern Arizona has to travel to Northern Colorado (10-5) for its final match of the season.
The victory for Montana (12-12, 8-6) allowed the Grizzlies to move into a two-way tie for fourth place with Weber State. In addition, Montana ended its 18-match losing streak against the Hornets, a run that dated back to 1999. In fact, the Hornets are still 24-5 all-time against the Grizzlies, including a 12-3 mark in Missoula.
In tonight’s match, Sacramento State threatened in the third set as the Hornets held a 23-21 lead. However, Montana ran off four consecutive points to win the set and match, taking advantage of three consecutive Sacramento State attack errors and a kill from Taryn Wright.
The Hornets continued to struggle on the road as their .062 hitting percentage came with just 32 kills and 24 errors in 130 attacks. As a team, Sacramento State is now hitting just .127 on the road and has posted a 2-12 record on opposing team’s home floors. Only two Hornets hit better than .200 this evening, comprised of sophomore Maddison Thivierge (team-best 10 kills and four blocks to go along with a .375 hitting percentage) and senior setter Rose Burke (five kills, 21 assists, three blocks, a team-best 13 digs and a .455 hitting percentage).
Six Hornets combined for all of the team’s 32 kills, including Thivierge (10), Desiree Hoyum (6), Burke (5), Eryn Kirby (4), Kelsey Elston (4) and Brittany Ferguson (3). However, Hoyum, Kirby and Ferguson each hit for negative hitting percentages. Four Hornets posted double-figure digs, comprised of Burke, Hoyum (12), Melissa Melcher (11) and Katie Van Der Wende (11).
Montana (.140) didn’t hit much better than Sacramento State, but the Grizzlies committed less errors and took advantage of seven service aces. Thibeault’s 11 kills accompanied a team-high six blocks to go along with a .381 hitting percentage. Brittney Brown led all players with 19 digs.
The Hornets conclude the regular season with home matches next week against Eastern Washington (Friday, Nov. 21, 7 p.m.) and Portland State (Saturday, Nov. 22, 7 p.m.). Prior to Saturday’s match, Sacramento State seniors Burke, Ferguson and Van Der Wende will be honored for their contributions to the program.
BIG SKY STANDINGS