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VOLLEYBALLâ€™S WINNING STREAK COMES TO AN END WITH HEARTBREAKING UPSET LOSS AT NORTHERN COLORADO
GREELEY, Colo. -- Allison Raguse had 20 kills, including five kills and a block in the fifth game, to lead Northern Colorado to a 3-2 upset victory (31-29, 30-26, 26-30, 30-32, 15-10) over Sacramento State in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Thursday evening at the Butler-Hancock Pavilion.
Northern Colorado (8-16, 6-5), which had never defeated the Hornet in seven previous tries, pulled off the biggest upset of the Big Sky season. The Bears’ victory snapped the Hornets’ 15-match winning streak and gave Sacramento State its first conference loss of the season. In fact, the Hornets (21-4, 8-1) had swept seven of the eight conference teams they had faced thus far, including a 3-0 victory over Northern Colorado on Sept. 22 in Sacramento.
The loss for the Hornets also snapped a 15-match winning streak against Big Sky competition dating back to last season. In fact, Sacramento State had been 38-1 against conference opposition dating back to Oct. 1, 2005, prior to tonight’s loss. The Hornets remain in first place in the Big Sky standings, percentage points ahead of second-place Portland State (16-6, 9-2). Sacramento State defeated the Vikings earlier this year in Sacramento in five games, and the two teams play again in the final regular-season match of the season (Nov. 17) in Portland.
All four of Sacramento State’s losses this season have now come in five games, as the team lost for the first time since a 3-2 defeat against Oregon State on Sept. 7.
After the Hornets had erased a 2-0 deficit by winning the third and fourth games, Northern Colorado jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the fifth and decisive frame. Sacramento State got as close as 13-10 of the Bears lead, but kills from Raguse and Kenzie Shreeve put the match away.
Northern Colorado hit .239, the second highest hitting percentage posted by a Hornet opponent this season. Raguse was hard to stop all night as she finished with a .390 hitting percentage and a team-best seven blocks to accompany her 20 kills. Raguse also had a kill to break a 29-29 tie in the first game and added a combo block with teammate Ashley Lichtenberg on the next point to delver the 31-29 first-game victory.
Joining Raguse with double figures in kills for the Bears were Shreeve (21 kills, 3 blocks), Dulcie Stone (14 kills, 19 digs.), Taylor Smith (12 kills, 4 blocks) and Lichtenberg (10 kills, 6 blocks). Abby Mayne added a team-best 27 digs. Stone served the first six points of the fifth game for Northern Colorado.
The Bears had a match point in the fourth game at 29-28, but Sacramento State senior Missie Stidham pounded one of her match-high 31 kills to tie the score at 29-29. Two kills from senior Lindsay Haupt and a Bears attack error eventually gave the Hornets a 32-30 fourth-game victory to force the fifth game.
Stidham posted Sacramento State career highs in both kills (31) and digs (35) while also finishing with a .364 hitting percentage (31-7-66). The 31 kills were the most by a Hornet since Sandra Bandimere had 36 in 2004, and the 35 digs were the most since Kristin Lutes had 36 on Sept. 9 of last season. Stidham also had five kills, three digs and a .625 hitting percentage (5-0-8) in the fifth game, but it was not enough as the Hornets tallied just six kills during the entire frame.
However, Stidham was the only Hornet with more than 16 kills despite the match lasting five games. In fact, only two other Hornets hit better than .270 (middle hitters Michelle Franz .381 and Lindsay Haupt .271) as Sacramento State hit .211 as a team.
Haupt had 16 kills and a match-high nine blocks, and Franz finished with 11 kills. Sophomore Desiree Hoyum had a career-high nine kills to go along with three blocks, and junior Rose Burke posted a career-high 67 assists. Freshman Chelsea Goodsell added 18 digs and senior Jennifer Ferguson 19 digs for a Sacramento State defense that posted 95 digs and 9.0 team blocks.
The Hornets were also within, 26-24, in the second game before a Raguse kill and a pair of kills from Stone eventually gave the Bears a 30-26 victory and a 2-0 games advantage.
Sacramento State’s road trip will not get any easier as the team travels to Northern Arizona on Saturday, Oct. 27, for a match at 7 p.m. PDT. The Lumberjacks are one of the Big Sky’s hottest teams, having won four of their last five matches, not to mention an 8-2 record at home this season.
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