VOLLEYBALL WINS SIXTH STRAIGHT AFTER SWEEPING EASTERN WASHINGTON, REMAINS IN A TIE FOR FIRST PLACE
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Eryn Kirby had 11 kills, Kayla Beal added 10 kills and Kelsey Elston posted a match-high seven blocks as Sacramento State swept past Eastern Washington, 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-18), in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Saturday evening at Colberg Court.
The victory for Sacramento State (11-9, 5-1) was the team’s sixth in a row, the longest winning streak for the program since the 2007 season. The Hornets now sit in a two-way tie for first place atop the Big Sky standings with Northern Colorado (5-1). Ten matches still remain in the conference season.
Sacramento State also won its third consecutive home match, and each of those victories have come via three-set sweeps. One of those wins came two weeks ago when the Hornets dealt Northern Colorado its only conference loss of the year in dominating fashion. After losing their first conference match of the year to Northern Arizona in five sets, Sacramento State has won five straight Big Sky matches.
Eastern Washington dropped to 8-10 overall and 4-3 in the conference. The Hornets improved to 28-13 all-time against the Eagles, including a 19-4 mark when the two teams play inside the friendly confines of the Nest.
Sacramento State controlled the match in every statistical category against Eastern Washington, holding healthy advantages in kills (41-31), hitting percentage (.218-.106), assists (39-31), digs (54-46) and team blocks (13.0-10.0).
“We’ve been playing very well in all aspects of the game during the winning streak, and tonight was certainly another example of that good play,” Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. “The team is very confident right now, and I really like our players’ demeanor on the floor. This is where we wanted to be at this point of the conference season, and we need to keep it rolling next week in Montana.”
Beal has now tallied double-figure kills in three straight matches, Kirby has double figures in 13 of her last 16 matches, and Elston’s seven blocks accompanied five kills and a .556 hitting percentage. Beal completed an incredible week in which she hit .426 while averaging 3.60 kills and 1.10 blocks per set during the Hornets’ three victories. Elston is in the midst of a torrid run in which she has hit better than .410 against five straight conference opponents and easily leads the league with a .421 hitting percentage against the league.
Also for the Hornets, Maddison Thivierge had seven kills, six blocks and a .286 hitting percentage, Janelle Currey had six kills and 13 digs, and libero Breanne Menees led all players with 19 digs. Setters Anna Schoener (19) and Hannah Hettinga (17) combined for 36 assists, while Schoener added five blocks.
Each of the Hornets’ last five Big Sky opponents have now hit below .165, and tonight was no different as the Eagles had just 31 kills with 19 errors in 113 attacks. Only one Eastern Washington player hit better than .200, and that was Britta Forsythe (three kills, .333). Shelby Puckett led all players with 14 kills.
Sacramento State returns to action next week when it travels to Montana (Friday, 6 p.m. PDT) and Montana State (Saturday, 6 p.m. PDT). The Hornets have won each of their last three road matches, and have a 4-2 record when playing on an opponent’s home floor this season. That includes last week’s road wins at Idaho State and Weber State.