VOLLEYBALL HOSTS PACIFIC IN BREAST CANCER AWARENESS NIGHT ON TUESDAY
I Dig Pink
Sacramento State’s home volleyball match Tuesday night against Pacific will serve as the team’s “I Dig Pink” match in support of breast cancer awareness. Sacramento State players will wear pink warmup t-shirts as well as pink wrist bands while Pacific will also be wearing pink items. Fans are encouraged to wear pink, and a table will be set up for donations which will go entirely to Sacramento’s Mercy General Hospital.
Preview Of The Week Ahead
The Sacramento State volleyball team (14-11), idle from conference play this week, will play its lone match of the week against non-conference rival Pacific on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. Pacific (15-5) will serve as the Hornets’ last non-conference opponent of the regular season, and the two teams will battle for the 32nd time in a series which dates back to 1976. Sacramento State is 9-6 against non-conference opponents this season, including a 4-4 mark at home.
After Tuesday’s match, the Hornets do not play for nine days until jumping back into Big Sky Conference play on Friday, Nov. 6, at home against Weber State. The Hornets will be the lone Big Sky team in the nine-member league to not play a conference match this week. Currently, Sacramento State is 5-5 and sitting in fifth place in the conference standings, a half game back of fourth-place Montana (5-4).
With just six conference matches remaining on the schedule, the Hornets could very well be locked in a battle with Montana the rest of the way for that fourth and final spot into the Big Sky Tournament. The Hornets are trying to reach the league’s postseason event for the 14th consecutive season, and every year since joining the Big Sky in 1996.
Pacific will enter Tuesday’s match with a 15-5 record after falling in five sets at Cal State Northridge last week. Speaking of five-set matches, the Tigers have played three consecutive contests to the fifth set (all of which came on the road) and went 1-2 over that span. Tuesday will mark the last stop of a four-match road trip for the Tigers.
Although Pacific owns a 26-5 all-time record against Sacramento State, the Hornets have won three of the last four meetings between the two teams. That includes a pair of three-set sweeps at home in both 2004 and 2006. However, Pacific won in easy fashion over the Hornets last season (25-18, 25-14, 25-21) in Stockton. When playing in Sacramento, the Hornets are 4-11 against Pacific with those victories coming in 1996, 1997, 2004 and 2006.
Sacramento State split a pair of Big Sky road matches last week, winning at Northern Arizona (3-1) on Thursday before falling in four sets to Northern Colorado on Saturday. The Hornets are now 8-5 when playing away from home this season, including a 5-4 mark when playing on their opponent’s home floor. The victory over Northern Arizona completed the season sweep of the Lumberjacks. However, Northern Colorado continued its recent dominance of the Hornets, winning its sixth straight match over Sacramento State dating back to the 2007 season. 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.
Free Video Stream, Stats and Audio
Like every home match this season, free video stream of Tuesday night’s match will be offered to fans via www.bigskytv.org. In addition, live stats and live audio can be found at www.hornetsports.com. Brian Berger will handle the play-by-play announcing for Tuesday’s contest.
12-6 Over The Last 18 Matches
After getting off to a slow start and beginning the season with a 2-5 record, Sacramento State has found a way to right the ship over the last six weeks. Since Sept. 12, the Hornets are 12-6, which includes a pair of four-match winning streaks during that span. In addition, Sacramento State has won five of its last seven, and will finish the regular season by playing five times at home over the last seven contests.
What Happened To The Five Set Matches?
After seven of the Hornets’ first 10 matches of the season went to five sets, Sacramento State has played into the fifth set just once in its last 15 contests. The Hornets are 4-4 in five setters, which included a brutal stretch of four straight 3-2 losses over a one-week span to Syracuse, Cal State Bakersfield, UC Riverside and Santa Clara, respectively. The Hornets have won each of their last three five-set outcomes over Fresno State (Sept. 12), UC Davis (Sept. 15) and San Jose State (Oct. 13).
Making Big Strides
In Ruben Volta’s first season as head coach in 2008, he guided the Hornets through a major rebuilding phase that saw the squad lose both starting outside hitters, both starting middle hitters and the starting libero from the previous year. That 2008 squad struggled to a 10-23 overall record. The team has made major strides in 2009, and has already posted four more victories (14-11) than all of last season. The Hornets have vastly improved in nearly every statistical category and have three winning streaks of at least three matches long after winning more than two in a row just once all of last year.
Serving Tough And Defense
Two of Sacramento State’s biggest strengths this year have been serving tough and playing good defense. The Hornets are currently first in the Big Sky in digs (16.91 per set) and service aces (1.63 per set), marks which rank the team 24th and 42nd in the nation in those two categories, respectively. Sacramento State already has 161 aces this year, which are 46 more than the next closest Big Sky team (Weber State with 115). In addition, the Hornets have limited the opposition this year to a .184 hitting percentage, which is the third best mark in the conference.
Hoyum And Currey Combination
Sacramento State’s outside hitter combination of senior Desiree Hoyum and freshman Janelle Currey share the conference lead with 15 double-doubles apiece (kills and digs) and both rank among the Big Sky’s top nine players in kills, digs and points. Hoyum (3.55 kps, 3.64 dps, 3.99 pps) and Currey (3.14 kps, 3.26 dps, 3.64 pps) have combined for 662 of the team’s 1,262 kills this year. Currey is on pace to challenge or surpass the Hornet Div. I freshman outside hitter records for kills and digs, and Hoyum has led the Hornets in kills in over half the team’s matches thus far (13 times).