VOLLEYBALL BACK IN FIRST PLACE AFTER SWEEP OF MONTANA STATE
Eryn Kirby led all players with 17 kills and surpassed the 1,000 career kills mark
BOZEMAN, Mont. -- Senior Eryn Kirby posted a match-high 17 kills and Sacramento State limited Montana State to a .034 hitting percentage as the Hornets defeated the Bobcats in three sets (25-18, 25-20, 26-24) in a Big Sky Conference volleyball matchup Saturday evening at Shroyer Gym.
With the win, the Hornets, who have won seven of their last eight matches, improved to 12-10 overall and 6-2 in the conference. Tonight’s victory, coupled with Northern Colorado’s home loss to Idaho State, means the Hornets are once again tied atop the conference standings with the Bears.
At the midway point of the conference year, Sacramento State and Northern Colorado sit in front of Portland State (5-3), Idaho State (5-3), Eastern Washington (4-4) and Northern Arizona (4-4) to round out the top six teams. The top four squads in the nine-member conference advance to the Big Sky Tournament, a place the Hornets have not been since 2008. If the season ended today, the Hornets would own the No. 1 seed by virtue of its three-set win over Northern Colorado in September.
With the loss, Montana State dropped to 2-16 overall and 2-6 in the Big Sky. That includes a 6-35 all-time record against Sacramento State, including a 5-12 mark when the two teams play in Bozeman.
In tonight’s match, the Bobcats had nearly the same amount of errors (29) as they did kills (34). Montana State became the fourth league opponent that Sacramento State has limited to a hitting percentage below .100 this season. Despite the match lasting just three sets, the Hornets accumulated 73 digs, good for a robust 24.3 digs per set. In addition, Sacramento State had 10.5 team blocks, including a match-high tying seven from Kelsey Elston.
Rarely does a team have five players finish with double figures in digs in a three-set match, but the Hornets accomplished the feat tonight . Breanne Menees (19), Sydney Kordic (11), Hannah Hettinga (11), Janelle Currey (11) and Kirby (11) all had at least 11 digs.
Kirby’s 17 kills came with a .319 hitting percentage as the outside hitter had just two errors in 47 attacks. No other Sacramento State player had more than seven kills, and Kirby was the lone Hornet (with more than one kill) to hit better than .150. In addition, Kirby now has 1,002 kills, becoming the 17th player in school history to surpass the 1,000 kills mark.
Kayla Beal had seven kills and four blocks, Anna Schoener chipped in 15 assists and four blocks, and Olivia Moss added three blocks. It was a Beal kill that ended the third frame at 26-24 and clinched the match for the Hornets.
Montana State was led by Chelsea Oemcke’s 13 kills, .440 hitting percentage and seven blocks. No other Bobcat player had more than seven kills, and four MSU players hit for negative percentages.
Sacramento State returns home for its final non-conference match of the season on Friday, Oct. 21, against Seattle at 7 p.m. The Hornets jump back into conference play in two weeks with its biggest road trip of the season against Northern Colorado and Northern Arizona.