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VOLLEYBALL MOVES INTO TIE FOR FIRST PLACE AFTER DOMINATING PORTLAND STATE
Middle blocker Kelsey Elston is now hitting a conference-best .408 against Big Sky teams
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State’s Kayla Beal had a match-best 11 kills and a .500 hitting percentage to help lead the Hornets to a three-set sweep (25-10, 25-20, 25-15) over Portland State in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Friday evening at Colberg Court.
With the victory, Sacramento State (10-9, 4-1) moved into a tie for first place in the conference standings with Northern Arizona and Northern Colorado. The Hornets have now won a season-high five straight matches, the team’s longest winning streak since 2007. In addition, Sacramento State has won four straight conference contests and will try to make it five in a row tomorrow night at home against Eastern Washington at 7 p.m.
The last two home wins for the Hornets have now come against the two teams (Northern Colorado and Portland State) that tied for last season’s Big Sky regular season championship. The Hornets swept both of those matches and combined to outscore the Vikings and Bears (in points) by a 150-95 margin.
Portland State, which had won four of its last five heading into tonight, fell to 8-11 overall and 4-3 in the conference. Sacramento State now owns a 36-16 all-time record against the Vikings in a series which dates back to 1979.
In tonight’s match, Sacramento State had nine aces (Portland State had zero), hit .280 as a team and finished with 13.0 team blocks. In fact, the Hornets had just eight errors in 107 attacks, and defensively, limited the Vikings to a sub .140 hitting percentage in all three sets. The Hornets never trailed in the first and third sets, and used a 7-2 run to close out the second frame.
“We really served well tonight and Portland State had trouble running its offense,” Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. “The tough serve helped our blocking numbers as well (13.0 team blocks).
“During the winning streak, we have been playing consistently and the team has not let anything distract them. Our serving, passing and blocking have all been very good.”
Beal was the only player from either squad with double figures in kills as she had no errors in 22 attacks while also finishing with five blocks. Middle blocker Kelsey Elston added eight kills, five blocks and a .467 hitting percentage, and easily leads the conference with a .408 hitting percentage against Big Sky teams. Three different Hornets had at least five blocks, including a match-best seven from Maddison Thivierge. In fact, Thivierge now has 28 blocks over her last six matches and is now averaging 0.98 blocks per set this season.
Outside hitter Janelle Currey had nine kills and 12 digs, outside hitter Eryn Kirby added five kills and 13 digs, and libero Breanne Menees had 11 digs. Five different Hornets had at least one ace, including three from Menees and two each from Kirby and Sydney Kordic. Hannah Hettinga had 19 assists and Anna Schoener chipped in with 13 assists and three blocks.
Nobody from Portland State finished with more than seven kills and only Katie O’Brien (five kills, .308 hitting percentage) hit better than .167 during the match.
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