VOLLEYBALLâ€™S SEASON COMES TO A CLOSE WITH FIRST ROUND NCAA TOURNAMENT LOSS TO STANFORD
STANFORD, Calif. – Foluke Akinradewo (14), Cynthia Barboza (14) and Kristin Richards (12) each finished with double figures in kills to lead second-ranked Stanford to a 3-0 (30-18, 30-18, 30-26) victory over Sacramento State in the first round of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament Saturday evening at Maples Pavilion.
With the victory, the Cardinal, who are the tournament’s No. 2 seed, improved to 26-3 and advance to the second round of the tournament where they will play Missouri tomorrow night at 7 p.m. inside Maples Pavilion. Missouri swept Santa Clara in tonight’s other first round match. Sacramento State had its seven-match winning streak snapped and the team’s season comes to a close with a 30-6 record. The 30 victories for the Hornets were the most since the 1995 season.
Sacramento State, which has now reached the prestigious NCAA Tournament nine times in the last 10 years, had trouble all night with a Stanford team that just won the Pacific-10 Conference title. Stanford has now defeated the Hornets on nine straight occasions, including three times in the last five years in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The nine-match winning streak for Stanford matches the longest active winning streak for any team against Sacramento State.
Tonight’s loss marked just the second time since Sept. 19 that Sacramento State had lost a match. The Hornets won their fifth consecutive Big Sky Conference Tournament championship to receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Winners of six in a row, Stanford hit .376, the highest hitting percentage by a Sacramento State opponent this season. The Cardinals led the Hornets in kills (55-37), hitting percentage (.376-.146), assists (51-35), digs (60-42) and blocks (9.0-8.0).
Sacramento State had 37 kills with 18 errors in 130 total attacks, as the Hornets were led by senior Atlee Hubbard’s 11 kills and 12 digs. The Hornets had six kills each from Michelle Franz, Jennifer Ferguson and Lindsay Haupt. Haupt also had a match-high six blocks. Senior libero Kristin Lutes joined Hubbard with double figures in digs as she finished with 11. The Hornets had 13 service errors, including five in the latter stages of the third game when the team was attempting to take a game from the Cardinal.
The Hornets, who have won either the Big Sky’s regular season and/or tournament championships each of the last 10 years, will return 11 players next season, including four starters (middle hitters Lindsay Haupt and Michelle Franz, outside hitter Jennifer Ferguson and setter Rose Burke). In addition, Sacramento State head coach Debby Colberg will enter next season needing just one victory to become the fifth Div. I active head coach to post 800 victories. She currently has a record of 799-284.
• Sacramento State finished the season with a 30-6 record and a 15-1 mark in the Big Sky Conference. The Hornets won both the Big Sky regular season and tournament titles, and the 30 victories were the most since the 1995 season.
• Sacramento State’s winning percentage (.833) is the 16th best mark in the nation.
• The Hornets have won either the Big Sky’s regular season and/or conference tournament championship each of the last 10 years. In addition, the Hornets have advanced to the NCAA Tournament nine times in the last 10 years, including each of the last five seasons.
• Head coach Debby Colberg will enter next season one victory shy of career win number 800. In 31 years as the Hornets’ head coach, she has posted a record of 799-284 (.738) record, and is fifth among active Div. I coaches in career wins.
• The Hornets are the only team in the nation to rank among the top 20 teams in both team blocks per game (3rd) and digs per game (11th).
• Junior middle hitters Lindsay Haupt and Michelle Franz, and senior outside hitter Atlee Hubbard were each named first team all-conference. Junior libero Kristin Lutes was named second team all-conference and the Big Sky Libero of the Year. Haupt received Big Sky Tournament MVP honors for the second year in a row.