VOLLEYBALL HOSTS SEATTLE ON BREAST CANCER AWARENESS DAY FRIDAY, ALUMNI MATCH ON SATURDAY
The Sacramento State volleyball squad will take a break from Big Sky Conference play to host non-conference opponent Seattle on Friday night, and the team will host the annual Alumni Match on Saturday at noon.
Fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of breast cancer awareness on Friday. 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. The match will begin at 7 p.m., and mark the first time Sacramento State and Seattle have faced each other.
Friday will also mark the Hornets’ final non-conference match of the season as Sacramento State is currently 12-10 overall and in a tie for first place in the league standings with a 6-2 mark. The Hornets have won seven of their last eight matches, which includes a six-match winning streak that stretched from Sept. 24 through Oct. 8.
Sacramento State has won each of its last three home matches in convincing fashion. All three of those outcomes were three-set sweeps and came against three of the better teams in the Big Sky (Northern Colorado, Portland State and Eastern Washington). In fact, the Hornets outscored those three teams (in points) by a combined 225-155 margin.
Seattle enters the week with a 4-14 overall record after losing at Montana State, 3-0, on Sunday. One day earlier, Sacramento State swept the same Montana State team in Bozeman. The Redhawks have dropped four of their last five matches, but the win during that stretch came on the road at Boise State. Seattle, which opened the season by sweeping Eastern Washington at home, is just 1-8 on the road. The Redhawks will play at Nevada on Thursday night before taking on the Hornets the next day.
At the midway point of the conference season, Sacramento State appears to be in pretty good shape in the league’s standings. The top four teams in the nine-member league reach the Big Sky Tournament which will take place in Portland on Nov. 25-26. Not only are the Hornets in a tie for first place, they also currently own the tiebreaker over the other first place team (Northern Colorado).
However, only two games separate the top six teams in the league. Following Sacramento State and Northern Colorado are Idaho State (5-3), Portland State (5-3), Northern Arizona (4-4) and Eastern Washington (4-4). The Hornets have already defeated each of those teams except Northern Arizona.
Sacramento State will jump back into conference play next week when the team travels to Northern Colorado and Northern Arizona.
Former Hornet head coach Debby Colberg and assistant Weidi Zhang will roam the Hornets Nest sidelines this Saturday at noon for the annual Sacramento State volleyball alumni match. Admission is free for any fan wishing to attend.
Colberg will guide an alumni lineup of 12 players that combined to accumulate 13 all-conference awards and 43 Big Sky championships during their careers. Among those players include outside hitters Sandra Bandimere, Angela Lewis, Atlee Hubbard, Kelly Voeltz and current Hornet assistant coach Sarah Chlebana, middle blockers Tasman Dwyer and Rebekah Capel, rightside hitter Leah Klemenhagen, defensive specialists Mallory Hook and Zara Budenbender (Boyle), and setters Stephanie Gamst and Kristi Deter (Lambert).
Fourth-year head coach Ruben Volta will guide the current version of the Hornets who have been playing their best volleyball of the season over the past month.
Sacramento State vs. Seattle
Friday, Oct. 21, 7 p.m.
Colberg Court - Sacramento, Calif.
Coverage (all three are free): Live Stats, Live Audio, Live Video
Series Record: First Meeting
BY THE NUMBERS -- One major reason for the Hornets’ 6-2 start in conference has been the team’s defensive effort. Big Sky opponents are hitting just .104 against Sacramento State, which is easily the top mark in the league. In fact, the next closest team in terms of opponents hitting percentage is Idaho State (.160). In addition, the Hornets are first in digs by a wide margin (19.07 per set) and second in blocks (2.92). Sacramento State has limited six straight conference opponents to hitting percentages of .135 or below.
SERVING TOUGH -- In conference play, Sacramento State has recorded 51 aces (compared to just 31 for the opposition), and is easily the top team in the league with an average of 1.70 aces per set. Janelle Currey (1st, 0.40), Kelsey Elston (4th, 0.37) and Breanne Menees (9th, 0.30) all rank among the top nine players in the conference in aces per set against league opposition.
DEFENSE -- Sacramento State leads the Big Sky and ranks 10th in the nation in digs per set (17.89). Defense has been a long-standing tradition at Sacramento State as the Hornets have ranked among the nation’s top 25 teams in digs per set 11 times in the last 16 years. The Hornets also moved up to 24th in the nation in blocks per set (2.63), and are now one of just two teams in the nation to rank among the top 25 squads in both digs and blocks. Fifth-ranked Stanford is the other. Senior libero Breanne Menees’ average of 5.40 digs per set is now the 16th best mark in the nation.
.165 IS THE MARK -- The Hornets are 11-1 when limiting the opposition to a hitting percentage below .165, and 1-9 when the opposition hits .165 or better.
MILESTONE WATCH -- With 17 kills against Montana State on Saturday, senior outside hitter Eryn Kirby surpassed the 1,000 kills mark, and now has 1,002 in her career. She became the 17th Hornet to join the 1,000 kills club since 1985, and first since Lindsay Haupt and Jennifer Ferguson both reached the mark in 2007…with 993 career kills and 1,152 digs, outside hitter Janelle Currey is just seven kills shy of becoming the 11th Hornet since 1985 to reach the 1,000 kill, 1,000 dig plateau. She would become one of just four players in school history to reach the plateau before her senior season (joining Jill Haas, Carissa Buie and Nicole Harty)…with 422 blocks, middle blocker Kelsey Elston needs just six blocks to move into the No. 9 spot on Sacramento State’s career top 10 list. Emily Wilson (2001-04) is currently ninth with 427 blocks…libero Breanne Menees has 1,725 career digs which is the third best mark in school history. Still reachable is the No. 2 spot which is Carissa Buie’s mark of 1,899…senior Anna Schoener is 25 assists shy of 1,000 despite learning and assuming the setter position for the first time in her life last year.
JUST THE FACTS -- Outside hitter Eryn Kirby has led the Hornets in kills in a team-high 12 matches this season. That includes 12 of the team’s last 18 matches. The Hornets are 10-5 when she records at least 10 kills in a match this year…Kirby and fellow outside hitter Janelle Currey are tied for fourth in the conference with eight double-doubles (kills and digs) each…senior middle blocker Maddison Thivierge, who missed last week’s matches with a knee injury, could return to action this week. She continues to lead the Big Sky with 1.26 blocks per set against conference opposition…overall, the Hornets have three players ranked among the top eight in the conference in blocks per set (for all matches), including Kelsey Elston (4th, 1.05), Thivierge (5th, 1.04) and Kayla Beal (8th, 0.99)…Elston has hit better than .410 in five of the Hornets’ eight league matches this season, and ranks third in the conference with a .313 hitting percentage against Big Sky opposition…defensive specialist Sydney Kordic has at least one ace in seven straight matches, and is now ninth in the Big Sky with an average of 0.25 aces per set against league opposition.