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VOLLEYBALL OPENS BIG SKY PLAY WITH 3-1 VICTORY OVER NORTHERN ARIZONA
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Freshman Janelle Currey had a match-high 18 kills, and freshman Sydney Kordic served three straight aces late in the fourth set to lead Sacramento State to a 3-1 (22-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-22) victory over Northern Arizona in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Thursday evening at Colberg Court.
With the victory, Sacramento State (9-6, 1-0) won its fourth straight match and seven of the last eight. Tonight marked the Big Sky opener for the Hornets, and the team has now won each of its last 10 conference home openers. The Hornets also improved to 27-7 all-time against Northern Arizona, including a perfect 16-0 mark against NAU in Sacramento.
The loss dropped Northern Arizona to 4-8 overall and 1-2 in the Big Sky. Sacramento State returns to action tomorrow night when the team plays for the third time in four nights against Big Sky rival Northern Colorado at 7 p.m.
Late in the fourth set, Northern Arizona had a commanding 21-16 lead and was primed to send the match into a fifth set. However, a Lumberjack service error put Kordic on the line, and she proceeded to serve seven consecutive points for Sacramento State. That included a run of service aces on back-to-back-to-back points that wiped out a 21-19 deficit and gave the Hornets a 22-21 lead. After two more Hornet points, Sacramento State had a 24-21 lead, and a Maddison Thivierge kill eventually gave the Hornets their fourth straight win.
“I feel like we’ve been playing volleyball at a very good level over the last eight matches, especially with our serve and defense,” Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. “Sydney had some very clutch serves for us late in the match. She served her zones well which put pressure on their passers and allowed us to get some easy points.”
Kordic finished with a career-high five aces, and the Hornets had a season-high tying 12 aces as a team. In fact, Sacramento State now has 24 aces over the last two matches. Kordic, Desiree Hoyum (career-high four), Breanne Menees (2) and Kelsey Elston (1) accounted for Sacramento State’s 12 aces.
Currey (18), Thivierge (16), Anna Schoener (8), Eryn Kirby (7), Hoyum (7) and Elston (6) accounted for 62 of the team’s 64 kills as Sacramento State finished the match with 36 more swings than the Lumberjacks (185-149). In fact, the Hornets had 64 kills, which were 16 more than Northern Arizona while also tallying 15 more assists (59-44) and seven more aces (12-5). Currey was the only Hornet with a double-double as she also had 12 digs and a .245 hitting percentage.
“Janelle has a very high volleyball IQ and she makes the right shot so many times,” Volta said. “She doesn’t make a lot of errors, and really makes her opponents play volleyball.”
Defensively, Sacramento State, already ranked 23rd in the nation in digs, added to that total with 81 more digs tonight. Breanne Menees (26), Hoyum (13) and Currey finished in double figures. Thivierge led all players with seven blocks.
For Northern Arizona, Jen Wilson had 14 kills and a .464 hitting percentage while Lauren Campbell finished with 13 kills, 13 digs and a .302 hitting percentage.
Sacramento State will look to improve to 2-0 in the Big Sky tomorrow night when it faces a team in Northern Colorado that has defeated the Hornets on four consecutive occasions dating back to the 2007 season. That includes three losses last year to the Bears, one of which came during the Big Sky Tournament quarterfinals.
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