VOLLEYBALL EXTENDS HOME WINNING STREAK WITH VICTORY OVER WEBER STATE
Rightside hitter Kayla Beal posted match highs in kills (12) and blocks (7) while hitting .364
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State rightside hitter Kayla Beal had a match-high 12 kills and seven blocks and middle hitter Kelsey Elston added eight kills and five blocks to help the Hornets to a three-set sweep of Weber State (25-12, 27-25, 29-27) in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Friday evening at Colberg Court.
With the victory, Sacramento State (14-12, 7-4) won its fifth straight home match, and inched within one game of second place in the Big Sky standings. The top four teams in the nine-member conference advance to the Big Sky Tournament (Nov. 25-26 in Portland), and Northern Colorado currently holds the top spot with a 9-3 league record, followed by Eastern Washington (9-4), Portland State (9-4) and Sacramento State to round out the top four. Northern Arizona (6-5) is a game back of the Hornets in fifth place.
Tonight was the first of a season-long four-match homestand that will see Sacramento State play Idaho State tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. Idaho State sits sixth in the league standings with a 5-6 conference mark and is in desperate need of a win to remain in Big Sky Tournament contention.
Weber State, which had won two of its last four matches entering tonight, dropped to 2-22 overall and 2-10 in the conference. The Hornets swept the season series over the Wildcats, winning in Ogden earlier this year.
After winning the first set handily, Sacramento State found itself in a dog fight over the final two frames. Outside hitter Janelle Currey rolled her ankle early in the second set and Jessie Genger filled in admirably the rest of the way, finishing with six kills, three aces and 10 digs. In fact, it was a Genger kill that ended a 27-25 battle in the second set, and a Genger ace that ended the third frame and match at 29-27. The Hornets had to save three set points in the third set as Beal had a kill that tied things at 24-24 and a solo block to tie the match at 25-25. At 27-27, Elston had a kill to give Sacramento State a 28-27 lead and Genger ended things with a perfectly placed serve that Weber State could not handle.
“After losing twice last week, it is very important we hold our own during the homestand,” Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. “We had a number of players step up tonight. Jessie (Genger) played well in all areas and really came up with some clutch plays. Kayla (Beal) put up a big block and I felt like that made a huge difference in the match.
“There is a good amount of volleyball left this year and a lot of teams are fighting for one of the top four spots. As the conference season has shown all year, every match is very important.”
Sacramento State led Weber State in virtually every statistical category, including kills (44-34), hitting percentage (.252-.071), aces (6-2), digs (51-47) and team blocks (11.0-8.0). The Wildcats did take advantage of 11 Hornet service errors.
Beal was one of three Hornet starters that hit better than .330 as she finished with a .364 hitting percentage to go along with her 12 kills and seven blocks. Elston hit .353 (8-2-17) and has now tallied at least five blocks six times in the last eight matches. Before exiting with injury, Currey had five kills, three digs and a .333 hitting percentage (5-1-12). Outside hitter Eryn Kirby added eight kills and eight digs, middle blocker Maddison Thivierge had five blocks and setter Hannah Hettinga tallied a match-high tying 20 assists.
Genger (10) and Hornet libero Breanne Menees (13) were the only players in the match with double figures in digs. Defensive specialist Sydney Kordic finished with seven digs.
Weber State setter Caitlin Penrod had four kills, an .800 hitting percentage (4-0-5), 20 assists, six digs and three blocks. Briana Wilms led the Wildcats with eight kills.
Sacramento State has just five matches remaining on its regular season schedule, including tomorrow night’s matchup with Idaho State and next week’s matches against Montana State (Nov. 10) and Montana (Nov. 12).