VOLLEYBALL DROPS TO 14-11 WITH LOSS AT NORTHERN COLORADO
GREELEY, Colo. -- Taylor Smith, Ashley Lichtenberg and Allison Raguse each had 10 kills and hit better than .400 to lead Northern Colorado to a 3-1 victory (25-21, 25-19, 26-28, 25-16) over Sacramento State in a Big Sky Conference volleyball matchup Saturday evening at the Butler-Hancock Pavilion.
The loss dropped the Hornets to 14-11 overall, 5-5 in the Big Sky, and snapped the team’s four-match winning streak on the road. Sacramento State fell back into fifth place in the league standings, a half game behind fourth-place Montana (5-4).
The victory allowed Northern Colorado (14-9, 7-2) to remain in third place, a half game back of Eastern Washington and Portland State, which both have 8-2 conference marks. The top four teams in the Big Sky reach the conference’s postseason tournament, and the Hornets have just seven Big Sky matches remaining on their schedule.
Northern Colorado continued its recent dominance of the Hornets, as the Bears won their sixth straight match over Sacramento State dating back to the 2007 season (including a 3-0 victory in Sacramento earlier this year). That is the longest winning streak by any Big Sky team against the Hornets since Sacramento State joined the league in 1996. In addition, the six losses ties for the second longest active losing streak against any opponent for Sacramento State. The Hornets have lost 10 straight to Stanford and six straight to the University of San Diego.
In tonight’s match, the Bears enjoyed a healthy advantage in nearly every statistical category over the Hornets, including kills (64-54), hitting percentage (.298-.182), assists (61-48), digs (86-67) and team blocks (10.0-5.0).
Lichtenberg (.500), Smith (.455) and Raguse (.417) combined for 30 kills and a .452 hitting percentage. Kelley Arnold added 10 kills and a .346 hitting percentage and Kenzie Shreeve led all players with 19 kills as the five Bears with double figures in kills combined for 59 of the team’s 64 kills. Raguse also had 20 digs and Breanna Vandermost led all players with 22 digs. The Bears have had little trouble against the Hornets’ defense this season, combining for a .302 hitting percentage in the two wins.
For Sacramento State, senior Desiree Hoyum and freshman Janelle Currey each had 14 kills to lead the team. Hoyum also had 10 kills to tie Currey for the Big Sky lead with 15 double-doubles. Sophomore Kelsey Elston added nine kills and a .444 hitting percentage, and, in the process, completed an impressive week for the middle hitter. In two matches this week, Elston posted team highs in kills (3.38 per set), hitting percentage (.522) and blocks (0.88 per set). In Thursday’s victory at Northern Arizona, she posted a career-high 18 kills and a .571 hitting percentage.
Freshman Sydney Kordic, who played the final two sets of tonight’s match as the team’s libero, finished with a team-high 15 digs. Setters Melissa Melcher (28) and Hannah Hettinga (14) combined for 42 assists as the Hornets began employing a 6-2 offense towards the end of the second set and stuck with that alignment the remainder of the match
Usually a team strength, Sacramento State finished with just three aces compared to eight service errors.
Sacramento State plays its final non-conference match of the season at home on Tuesday, Oct. 27, when the team hosts Pacific at 7 p.m. The Hornets will then go nine consecutive days without playing until their next conference match on Friday, Nov. 6, at home against Weber State.