VOLLEYBALL EMBARKS UPON MOST IMPORTANT AND FINAL HOMESTAND OF THE YEAR
Sophomore outside hitter Janelle Currey easily leads the Big Sky with 18 double-doubles
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- With just two weeks and four matches remaining in the regular season, the Sacramento State volleyball squad gets set for its final, and most important, homestand of the year.
The Hornets (13-15, 6-6) will host Montana on Friday, Nov. 12, and Montana State on Saturday, Nov. 13. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m.
Sacramento State is currently one of four teams in the Big Sky Conference battling for the final two playoff spots. The top four teams in the nine-member league reach the league’s postseason event (Nov. 26-27), and one game separates Idaho State (7-6), Montana (7-6), Sacramento State (6-6) and Eastern Washington (6-7) in the conference standings. Northern Colorado (12-1) and Portland State (11-2) have all but locked up the top two spots, while places three and four are still up for grabs.
The Hornets did not qualify for the Big Sky Tournament last season, marking the first time since the program joined the league in 1996 that the team did not reach the postseason. Sacramento State is attempting to jump back into the playoffs despite playing a full season without its probable starters at setter (Hannah Hettinga) and middle hitter (Maddison Thivierge) because of injury. In addition, the probable starter at rightside hitter (Anna Schoener) switched positions to setter for the first time in her career because of a shoulder injury that makes it too painful to attack the ball.
Realistically, the Hornets will need to win three of their final four matches to put themselves in good position to qualify for a tournament spot. Sacramento State would like to get off to a good start this week, using a homecourt advantage that has seen the team go 8-3 at Colberg Court, including a 5-1 mark against Big Sky opposition. That one loss at home to a conference team came in a heartbreaking 16-14 fifth-set defeat to Northern Colorado.
Sacramento State wraps up its regular season schedule next week when the team travels to Portland State (Nov. 19) and Eastern Washington (Nov. 20). The Hornets defeated both teams earlier this year at home.
Montana will enter Friday night’s match with an 11-13 overall record and a 7-6 mark in the conference. The Grizzlies snapped a three-match losing streak on Saturday with a sweep of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. Montana is 3-6 on the road, including a 3-4 mark against league opposition. The Grizzlies swept Sacramento State earlier this year (Oct. 16) by a 25-17, 25-22, 25-22 score. However, Sacramento State is 24-8 all-time against Montana, including an 11-3 mark inside the friendly confines.
Montana State (10-16, 3-10) has dropped six straight since defeating Sacramento State on Oct. 15 in Bozeman. In fact, that was the Bobcats’ lone win in their last 10 matches. Montana Sate is 3-10 on the road this year, including a 1-6 record against Big Sky teams. The Hornets are 33-6 all-time against the Bobcats, including an 18-1 mark in Sacramento. In fact, the Hornets have won 16 straight matchups at home against Montana State dating back to 1997.
Normally, Saturday night’s home finale would serve as the team’s Senior Night festivities. However, the Hornets have just one senior on the roster, and that player (Thivierge) is taking a redshirt after injuring her knee and will return in 2011 for her senior year.
Free video and live stats will be available for both matches this week.
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