VOLLEYBALL HOSTS TWO MATCHES THIS WEEK, BREAST CANCER AWARENESS DAY ON SATURDAY
The Week Ahead
Fresh off a pair of home wins last week over conference foes Eastern Washington and Portland State, the Sacramento State volleyball team (9-10, 2-2) returns this week for two more home matches at Colberg Court. The Hornets will host both Idaho State (Friday, Oct. 8, 7 p.m.) and Weber State (Saturday, Oct. 9, 7 p.m.). Fans attending Sacramento State’s homecoming football game against Northern Colorado on Saturday afternoon can use their ticket stub to gain free admission to Saturday night’s volleyball match against Weber State.
In addition, fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of breast cancer awareness on Saturday. Sacramento State players will be wearing pink items, and a donation table will be set up at the entrance to Colberg Court with all proceeds going to Mercy General Hospital.
Sacramento State has won five straight at home, outscoring its opponents by a 15-4 margin over those matches. The Hornets now own a 95-14 Big Sky Conference home mark since joining the league in 1996. The team has not lost a matchup inside the friendly confines since a 3-2 loss to UTSA at the Sacramento State Invitational on Sept. 3.
Idaho State (10-7, 3-3), which lost to Boise State on Tuesday, has continued to improve four straight years. The Bengals went from a 6-23 team in 2007, to 10-20 in 2008 and 13-15 last year. ISU is 1-5 on an opponents’ home floor, including a 3-1 loss to Boise State last night. Sacramento State is 25-4 all-time against Idaho State, but the two teams have split the last four meetings against each other. The Hornets had been 13-0 against the Bengals in Sacramento prior to last year’s 3-0 loss at Colberg Court. In that match, the Hornets squandered leads of 19-11 in the first, 24-22 in the second, and 17-12 in the third sets.
Weber State (2-16, 0-6) has dropped eight straight after getting swept on the road Tuesday at Utah Valley. In addition, the Wildcats remained winless on the road (0-7) and have been outscored by a 21-4 margin over that span. Weber State is still looking for its first Big Sky win, but has been close in several of those outcomes. The Wildcats have been swept by just one conference team, including five-set losses to Eastern Washington and Montana State. The Hornets are 23-8 all-time against Weber State, including a 13-2 mark in Sacramento. It was the Wildcats that snapped the Hornets’ 59-match Big Sky regular-season home winning streak with a 3-2 win in Sacramento on Nov. 2, 2007.
Free Video Stream, Stats and Audio
Like every home match this season, free video stream and live stats will be offered for both Sacramento State matches this week. Video, audio and live stats will be provided for both matches this week via www.hornetsports.com with Brian Berger handling the play-by-play announcing.
Hornets Battling Despite Injuries
Sacramento State has been playing the 2010 season without the services of two projected starters (sophomore setter Hannah Hettinga and senior middle hitter Maddison Thivierge). Both players had knee surgery in August and will miss the season. Thivierge is a team co-captain along with sophomore outside hitter Janelle Currey. Perhaps the strangest twist in the Hornet injury saga is the role of junior Anna Schoener, who was projected as the team’s starting rightside hitter. However, she re-injured her right (hitting) shoulder making it extremely difficult and painful to take swings. So, head coach Ruben Volta decided to move her to the setter position despite Schoener having never played the position during her career. Schoener is one of two setters that see time on the floor (along with freshman Katie Aprile) and has responded with averages of 4.36 assists and 0.68 blocks per set.
Youth is Served
With the lone senior on this year’s squad, Maddison Thivierge, out for the year, Sacramento State is currently playing with zero seniors. Of the 15 players on the roster, nine are underclassmen, including five freshmen. Four different underclassmen have started at least nine matches, including sophomore outside hitter Janelle Currey (19 starts), sophomore middle Olivia Moss (18 starts), freshman setter Katie Aprile (17 starts) and freshman rightside Kayla Beal (11 starts). The average age of the Hornets’ roster is 19 years old.
Sacramento State is 5-2 at home, including a five-match winning streak, compared to 4-8 away from home. The team is averaging 12.85 kills, 12.00 assists, 17.15 digs and 2.48 blocks per set while hitting .205 inside the friendly confines. However, away from home, its a much different story. At road and neutral sites, the Hornets are averaging 10.62 kills, 20.08 assists, 16.38 digs and 2.38 blocks per set while hitting just .124. Sacramento State is outscoring its opposition (in sets) by a 17-10 margin at home, while being outscored, 30-20, away from home.
The Currey-Kirby Combination
The outside hitter tandem of sophomore Janelle Currey (3.44 kps) and junior Eryn Kirby (3.12 kps) have combined to accumulate 58 percent of the team’s average of 11.4 kills per set. In fact, Currey and Kirby rank fifth and eighth, respectively, in the Big Sky Conference in kills. They are one of just two outside hitter tandems in the Big Sky to rank among the league’s top eight players in kills per set (joining Northern Colorado’s Kelley Arnold and Ashley Lichtenberg). Currey leads the conference with 12 double-doubles while Kirby has tallied six. The Hornets are 6-3 when both Currey and Kirby record double-figure kills in the same match.
Local Product Making Noise
Rightside hitter Kayla Beal was named the Big Sky Conference’s Player of the Week after helping the Hornets to victories last week over both Eastern Washington and Portland State. A local product from Dixon, Calif., Beal becomes the first Sacramento State freshman to earn volleyball player of the week accolades since 2000 when Lisa Beauchene accomplished the feat. Beal’s 18 kills (including the match clincher in the fifth set) against Portland State were a season high. She has started each of the last seven matches and 11 matches overall. The Hornets are 5-1 when Beal tallies double digits in kills, and she is now averaging 2.12 kills and 0.63 blocks per set while hitting a team-best .213.
Sacramento State now ranks among the nation’s top 50 teams in the nation in both digs (22nd, 16.65) and blocks (49th, 2.42) per set...those numbers also rank first and second in the Big Sky, respectively...junior libero Breanne Menees was injured midway through the first set of Saturday’s match against Portland State and finished with three digs. Previously, she had never finished with less than 12 digs in any match this year, and still ranks first in the Big Sky and 22nd in the nation with 5.34 digs per set...freshman setter Katie Aprile’s 30 assists vs. Portland State were a career high...freshman Ashley Newcomb’s 0.86 blocks per set are the second best mark on the team...Janelle Currey’s 28 aces leads in the Big Sky.