VOLLEYBALL BEATS #14 CAL POLY AND XAVIER, WINS USF INVITATIONAL TITLE
SAN FRANCISCO - Senior Missie Stidham combined for 47 kills and senior Lindsay Haupt added 21 kills and 17 blocks to lead Sacramento State to victories over both 14th-ranked Cal Poly (18-30, 30-28, 30-27, 30-21) and Xavier (30-27, 30-28, 31-29) in the second and final day of the USF Volleyball Invitational Saturday afternoon at War Memorial Gym.
Coupled with yesterday’s three-game sweep of host San Francisco, the Hornets completed the tournament with a perfect 3-0 record and claimed the USF Invitational championship. In the process, Sacramento State won its fifth straight match and eight of the last nine. The tournament championship was the second in three weeks for the Hornets as the team also won the Bama Bash in Tuscaloosa (Aug. 31-Sept. 1).
Sacramento State, which improved to 11-3 overall, defeated a ranked opponent for the second consecutive season. Last year, the Hornets swept 25th-ranked Long Beach State and returned today to knock off Cal Poly, which was ranked 14th in the nation and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season. In addition, Sacramento State defeated its second-highest ranked opponent in Div. I program history (the Hornets beat then No. 13 Pacific at home in 1997).
Three Sacramento State players were named to the all-tournament team, including MVP Missie Stidham and seniors Lindsay Haupt and Jennifer Ferguson. Stidham was incredible over the three matches, combining for team highs in both kills (6.40 per game) and digs (5.20 per game) while also hitting .299. Haupt finished the tournament with 3.00 kills and 2.30 blocks per game to go along with a team-best .344 hitting percentage. Ferguson averaged 3.70 kills and 3.70 digs per game. Haupt has now been named to the all-tournament team at all four tourneys the Hornets have participated in this season.
In the victory over Cal Poly, Stidham had 29 kills, which were 10 more than any other player in the match. Seventeen of those 29 kills came during games three and four, including each of the last two points in the team’s narrow 30-27 third-game victory. The senior also had a team-high 27 digs.
Ferguson added 14 kills and 17 digs, and Haupt totalled nine kills and seven blocks. Freshman libero Chelsea Goodsell had 23 digs. Sacramento State hit just .134 (61-34-201), but the team’s defense rang up 96 digs (14 more than Cal Poly) and 14.0 team blocks. Three Hornets had at least five blocks, including Haupt (7), Michelle Franz (7) and Desiree Hoyum (career-high 5).
In the second game, the Hornets trailed, 27-26, but Haupt took over with three blocks and a kill to account for each of the team’s final four points of the game.
In the victory over Xavier, Stidham had 18 kills and 11 digs to lead a Hornet offensive attack that accumulated a .305 hitting percentage. That included 12 kills, 10 blocks and a .524 hitting percentage from Haupt, and nine kills, two blocks and a .500 hitting percentage from Franz. Ferguson added 11 kills, eight digs and three blocks.
Sacramento State had 12.0 team blocks despite the match lasting just three games, including five from junior setter Rose Burke.
The match was close throughout as neither team held better than a five-point lead during the entire match. The Hornets overcame a 28-25 deficit in the third game with a big hand from Stidham, who produced kills on points 26, 29 and the match clincher at 31.
Sacramento State returns to action this Friday, Sept. 21, when it opens Big Sky Conference play at home against Northern Arizona. Match time is 7 p.m. The team will also host Northern Colorado on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. The Hornets have won either the league’s regular season and/or tournament championship each of the last 10 years.