VOLLEYBALL FALLS TO IDAHO STATE, REMAINS IN PLAYOFF HUNT WITH FOUR MATCHES REMAINING
Kayla Beal finished with 10 kills and a team-best four blocks
POCATELLO, Idaho -- Idaho State’s Haylee Thompson-Brock had a match-high tying 17 kills, and four Bengal starters all hit better than .360 on the way to a 3-1 (25-21, 25-23, 21-25, 25-16) victory over Sacramento State in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Saturday evening at Reed Gym.
Idaho State would finish the match hitting .294, including a robust .548 percentage in the fourth frame. Starters Thompson-Brock (.361), Sarah Carson (10 kills, .364), Britta Bartschi-Rhodehouse 10 kills, .429) and setter Karissa Legaux (three kills, .375) all hit for high percentages.
With the loss, Sacramento State fell to 13-15 overall and 6-6 in the Big Sky. With four matches to play in the regular season, the Hornets find themselves alone in fifth place in the league standings, just a half game back of both Montana and Idaho State, who are 7-6. The top four teams in the nine-member league reach the Big Sky Tournament (Nov. 26-27). Sacramento State concludes the year with home matches against Montana (Nov. 12) and Montana State (Nov. 13), and road contests at Portland State (Nov. 19) and Eastern Washington (Nov. 20).
What makes tonight’s loss sting a little more is Sacramento State would lose the tiebreaker with Idaho State (16-11, 7-6) should the two teams finish tied in the league standings. The Hornets and Bengals split their two matchups this year, but Idaho State owns a better set differential, having lost to the Hornets in five sets in Sacramento, and winning in four at home.
Possibly the biggest moment of tonight’s match came during the later stages of the second set. Sacramento State held a 22-20 lead and looked in prime position to even the match at 1-1 after Idaho State won the first frame. However, the Bengals, behind the strength of a pair of service aces, finished the set on a 5-1 run to win. Sacramento State took the third, but ISU cruised in the fourth to win the frame and match.
The Hornets, who hit just .192, received 17 kills from Eryn Kirby, 14 kills and 11 digs from Janelle Currey, and 10 kills and four blocks from Kayla Beal. Both squads had 56 kills, six aces and 6.0 team blocks while Sacramento State held an advantage in assists (52-51) and digs (65-61). Hornet libero Breanne Menees led all players with 23 digs, Sydney Kordic added 13 digs, setter Katie Aprile had a match-best three aces, and setter Anna Schoener had five kills, a .444 hitting percentage (5-1-19) and 23 assists.
Sacramento State closes out its home portion of the schedule next week against Montana and Montana State. The Hornets lost to both teams earlier this year on the road, but Sacramento State has been a much better team at home, posting an 8-3 record inside the friendly confines, including 5-1 against Big Sky teams.