VOLLEYBALL FALLS TO NORTHERN COLORADO, BEGINS BIG SKY 0-2 FOR THE FIRST TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY
GREELEY, Colo. -- Taylor Smith (12), Kenzie Shreeve (10) and Ashley Lichtenberg (10) each had double figures in kills to lead Northern Colorado to a three-set sweep (25-17, 25-20, 25-23) of Sacramento State in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Saturday evening at the Butler-Hancock Pavilion.
With the loss, Sacramento State, losers of 12 straight matches, dropped to 2-14 overall and 0-2 in the Big Sky. Coupled with the team’s loss on Thursday at Northern Arizona, the Hornets have now lost two consecutive conference matches for the first time since 1999. In addition, Sacramento State is now 0-2 to begin the conference season for the first time since joining the Big Sky in 1996. The team is also in jeopardy of eliminating itself from the possibility of winning at least 20 matches overall for the 14th consecutive season.
With the victory, Northern Colorado, which was playing its home opener tonight, improved to 8-3 overall and 2-1 in the Big Sky. The Bears joined the league in 2006, and picked up just their second-ever win against Sacramento State (2-7).
The Hornets hit just .103 in the match and no player hit better than .217. Sacramento State has now failed to hit better than .185 in nine consecutive matches, and the lack of offensive production has been a major reason for the team’s decline this year. In the second set of tonight’s match, the Hornets totalled just four kills and a -.074 hitting percentage.
Conversely, Northern Colorado hit .257 during the match, including a .450 mark from Smith (12-3-20), and .444 (10-2-18) from Lichtenberg. The Bears held the advantage over the Hornets in nearly every statistical category, including kills (44-29), assists (42-28), digs (52-38) and team blocks (9.0-3.0). Sacramento State’s largest lead of the night was a 6-2 advantage early in the second set. Besides that early advantage, Northern Colorado controlled the match throughout the evening.
For Sacramento State, senior Brittany Ferguson, junior Desiree Hoyum and freshman Eryn Kirby each led the team with seven kills. Kirby hit a team-best .217 (7-2-23) to go along with four digs. Senior Katie Van Der Wende posted a Hornet-best 13 digs. Sacramento State hit .152, -.074 and .170 in sets 1-3, respectively.
Next week, Sacramento State finally returns home for the first time since Sept. 6, as the Hornets concluded a stretch of nine straight matches away from home tonight. The Hornets, who will play six of their next nine matches inside the friendly confines, will take on both Idaho State (Friday, Oct. 3, 7 p.m.) and Weber State (Saturday, Oct. 4, 7 p.m.) next week.