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VOLLEYBALL MOVES INTO A TIE FOR THIRD PLACE WITH SWEEP OF MONTANA STATE
Eryn Kirby combined for 30 kills and a .373 hitting percentage in the two Hornet wins this week
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Junior Eryn Kirby tallied a match-best 15 kills to go along with a .333 hitting percentage to lead Sacramento State to a three-set sweep (25-17, 25-18, 25-16) of Montana State in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Saturday evening at Colberg Court.
Tonight marked the final home contest of the season for Sacramento State as the Hornets (15-15, 8-6) moved into a tie for third place in the conference standings with Idaho State. Only two matches remain on the schedule as Sacramento State will travel to Eastern Washington and Portland State next week to conclude the regular season.
Tonight’s win was huge for playoff implications as the top four teams in the nine-member Big Sky reach the league’s postseason event (Nov. 26-27). Sacramento State is one of three teams battling for the final two playoff spots as Montana (7-7) sits in fifth place. Both Sacramento State and Idaho State will play their final two matches on the road while Montana plays its final two at home.
The Hornets own the tiebreaker over the Grizzlies should the two teams finish with the same record, but do not own the tiebreaker against Idaho State. If Montana loses at home to Idaho State next week, Sacramento State clinches a spot in the Big Sky Tournament regardless of its outcomes against Eastern Washington and Portland State.
Eastern Washington, which had been in the race for one of the remaining two spots, lost at Northern Arizona tonight and dropped to 6-9.
Sacramento State concludes its season with a 10-3 record at home, including a 7-1 mark against conference competition. With the loss, Montana State, which defeated the Hornets in Bozeman earlier this season, dropped to 10-17 overall and 3-11 in the Big Sky. The Hornets are now 34-6 all-time against the Bobcats, including a 19-1 mark in Sacramento. In fact, the Hornets have won 17 straight matchups at home against Montana State dating back to 1997.
“This week’s homestand was very big (which included a 3-0 victory over Montana last night), and the team responded in a huge way,” Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. “I was very proud of our effort, and I’m hoping we can carry this momentum into next week’s matches on the road.”
The trio of Kirby, outside hitter Janelle Currey (11 kills, 12 digs, .321) and middle hitter Kelsey Elston (six kills, five aces, .385) combined for 32 of the Hornets’ 38 kills while hitting .338 (32-6-77). Elston’s five aces accounted for half of the team’s output as setter Katie Aprile and libero Breanne Menees both had two aces.
The Hornets hit .231 while limiting Montana State to a .125 percentage. Sacramento State totalled 51 digs, including 12 each from Currey and Menees. Aprile added nine digs, middle hitter Olivia Moss had four blocks, and setter Anna Schoener added three blocks.
Montana State had zero aces compared to nine service errors. Rachelle Allen (10) was the only Bobcat with more than seven kills, and no Montana State players recorded double digits in digs.
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