VOLLEYBALL PICKS UP BIG WIN, DEFEATS MONTANA STATE IN FOUR SETS
Senior Maddison Thivierge posted season highs in kills (14), hitting percentage (.542) and attacks (24)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Senior middle blocker Maddison Thivierge had 14 kills, a .542 hitting percentage and six blocks, and senior outside hitter Eryn Kirby added a match-best 17 kills to lead Sacramento State to a 3-1 victory (23-25, 25-15, 25-16, 25-21) over Montana State in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Thursday evening at Colberg Court.
Thivierge’s kills, attacks (24) and hitting percentage were all season highs. In fact, the 14 kills were five more than any other match this season, and she committed just one error in 24 attacks. She entered the match ranked second in the Big Sky in blocks, and helped that number with six more tonight (including two solos). Kirby’s 17 kills accompanied a .312 hitting percentage (17-2-48), 16 digs and three blocks.
With the victory, Sacramento State (15-13, 8-5) moves to within a half game of third-place Eastern Washington, and more importantly, 1.5 games ahead of fifth-place Idaho State. The top four teams in the nine-member Big Sky advance to the conference tournament, which will be played Nov. 25-26 in Portland. The Hornets have just three matches remaining in the regular season, including the team’s final home contest of the season Saturday afternoon (1 p.m.) against Montana.
After Saturday’s match, the Hornets will play two on road next week against second-place Portland State and Eastern Washington. Sacramento State is attempting to qualify for the Big Sky Tournament for the first time since the 2008 season.
Montana State dropped to 3-22 overall and 2-12 in the conference. Sacramento State swept the season series with the Bobcats, and now own a 36-6 all-time record in the series. That includes winning 18 straight on the home floor against MSU.
After Montana State hit .231 to win the first set, the Hornets limited the Bobcats to hitting percentages below .100 during each of the final three frames. MSU hit .105 for the match, and Sacramento State is now 14-1 when limiting the opposition to a hitting percentage below .165.
“I wasn’t happy with the way we started the match, but I felt like we began playing with a lot of effort in the second set,” Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. “We began digging everything, and we really fed off that defensive energy. Then we began attacking the ball well, and I was really happy with the way our setters played tonight.”
After dropping the first set, 25-23, Sacramento State never trailed and had healthy leads in each of the final three frames.
Five different Hornets had at least eight kills, including rightside hitter Kayla Beal (nine kills, .296 hitting percentage), middle blocker Kelsey Elston (eight kills, five blocks) and outside hitter Janelle Currey (eight kills, 20 digs). Setters Anna Schoener (29 assists, four blocks) and Hannah Hettinga (22 assists) combined for 51 assists.
Four Hornets had double figures in digs, comprised of Currey, Kirby, libero Breanne Menees (25) and defensive specialist Sydney Kordic (season-high tying 17).
Montana State’s Alex Penewell had 12 kills and a .458 hitting percentage, but she was the only the Bobcat with more than one kill to finish with a hitting percentage better than .136. Sarah Horton added 11 kills and 19 digs.
Prior to Saturday afternoon’s match against Montana, the five Hornet seniors (Menees, Thivierge, Schoener, Elston and Kirby) will be honored for their contributions to the program.