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VOLLEYBALL FALLS OUT OF FIRST PLACE AFTER 3-1 LOSS AT NORTHERN COLORADO
Outside hitter Eryn Kirby led all players with 17 kills, but Northern Colorado won the match, 3-1
GREELEY, Colo. -- Northern Colorado’s Andrea Spaustat and Kelley Arnold both had 16 kills and hit better than .350 to lead the Bears to a 3-1 victory (26-24, 25-20, 21-25, 25-20) over Sacramento State in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Thursday evening at the Butler-Hancock Pavilion.
The match was a showdown of the top two teams in the conference, and Northern Colorado (14-8, 8-3) came through on its home floor after being swept earlier this year by the Hornets (13-11, 6-3) in Sacramento.
With the victory, Northern Colorado jumps ahead of Sacramento State in the standings, but both teams remain tied in the loss column. In fact, the Hornets actually fall to third place behind second-place Portland State (7-3). However, the Hornets will own the tiebreaker over Northern Colorado should the two teams finish the season with the same conference record. Sacramento State and Northern Colorado went 1-1 against each other this season, but the Hornets own a better set differential. Sacramento State also currently owns the tiebreaker against Portland State, but the two teams will meet in Portland in the regular season finale Nov. 19. The Hornets have seven matches remaining on their schedule.
Sacramento State will now travel to Flagstaff for a Saturday evening matchup with Northern Arizona (5-5 in league) at 7 p.m. The match will be televised live on Fox College Sports Pacific (DirecTV channel 623, Comcast channel 415).
The biggest set of the night may have been the first where Northern Colorado squeaked out a 26-24 victory. The Hornets saved one set point to tie the match at 24-24, but back-to-back kills from Arnold and Spaustat, respectively, gave the Bears a valuable first set win. Neither of the remaining three sets were nail biters as Northern Colorado, fittingly, got a kill from Arnold to end the fourth set and match.
The best serving team in the conference, Sacramento State was held to a season-low one ace as Northern Colorado’s serve receive and passing were both impressive all evening. The Bears held an advantage over the Hornets in kills (65-52), hitting percentage (.210-.182), assists (57-48) and digs (89-74). Prior to tonight, Sacramento State had limited six consecutive Big Sky opponents to hitting percentages of .135 or below.
Arnold hit .355 (16-5-31) to go along with 14 digs and three blocks while Spaustat’s 16 kills were accompanied by a match-best six blocks. The Bears also received 10 kills from Tambre Haddock and nine kills and nine digs from Alyssa Wilson.
For Sacramento State, senior outside hitter Eryn Kirby was the only Hornet with double figures in kills as she led all players with 17 kills to go along with a .235 hitting percentage, 16 digs and three blocks. Setter Anna Schoener had five kills, a .714 hitting percentage (5-0-7), 28 assists and three blocks. Middle blocker Kelsey Elston added seven kills and five blocks, outside hitter Janelle Currey had nine kills and 12 digs, and rightside hitter Kayla Beal tallied eight kills and four blocks.
Of Sacramento State’s final seven regular season matches, four will come at home and three on the road. That includes a four-match homestand that stretches from Nov. 4-12.
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