VOLLEYBALL DROPS FIVE-SET NAIL BITER TO IDAHO STATE, HOME WINNING STREAK SNAPPED
Anna Schoener (left) and Maddison Thivierge (right) combined for 15 blocks in tonight's match
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Idaho State’s Vanessa Muir had 14 kills and a .400 hitting percentage, and Kyle Searle posted 40 digs to lead the Bengals to a 3-2 (15-25, 25-14, 23-25, 25-23, 15-13) victory over Sacramento State in a Big Sky Conference volleyball matchup Saturday evening at Colberg Court.
The loss snapped Sacramento State’s five-match home winning streak as the team lost on its home floor for the first time since Sept. 22. The Hornets (14-13, 7-5) now find themselves all alone in fourth place in the Big Sky standings, trailing Northern Colorado (10-3), Portland State (10-4) and Eastern Washington (9-5).
Sacramento State has just four matches remaining on its schedule, including the final two home matches of the season next week against Montana State (Nov. 10) and Montana (Nov. 12). The top four teams in the nine-member conference reach the Big Sky Tournament (Nov. 25-26 in Portland), and the Hornets have three teams right behind them in the standings, comprised of Idaho State (6-6), Northern Arizona (6-7) and Montana (6-7). Should Sacramento State finish the season in a tie for fourth place with either of those three teams, the Hornets would own the tiebreaker against Idaho State (both teams won 3-2 on the road against each other, but Sacramento State has the better points differential), but do not own the tiebreaker against Northern Arizona or Montana.
Idaho State (13-11 overall) won for just the second time ever when playing the Hornets in Sacramento (2-21) and won for just the sixth time overall in the all-time series (6-27) between the two teams.
In a match that lasted over two hours and featured 30 ties and 15 lead changes, it was Idaho State that outlasted the Hornets in a tense fifth set. After a kill from Alydia Fields gave Idaho State a 14-10 lead and match point in the fifth set, Sacramento State stormed back on a solo block from Anna Schoener, and consecutive kills from Kayla Beal and Eryn Kirby to close within, 14-13. The next point proved to be one of the longest rallies of the match as both teams went back and forth before a Kirby swing down the line sailed just long, giving the Bengals the set and match. Fields and Muir both had three kills and hit for high percentages in the fifth set for the Bengals.
Sacramento State had 16.0 team blocks, including eight from Schoener, seven each from Maddison Thivierge and Kelsey Elston, and five more from Beal. However, Idaho State had five more kills (62-57) than the Hornets and 13 more digs (106-93) while also taking advantage of 12 Sacramento State service errors.
For Sacramento State, Kirby led the team with 15 kills, 13 digs and three aces while Elston had 12 kills to go along with her seven blocks. Beal added 10 kills and Thivierge had eight kills and a team-high tying .375 hitting percentage. Janelle Currey, who left last night’s match against Weber State early in the second set after rolling her ankle, played tonight despite not being 100 percent healthy and finished with six kills and 15 digs.
Schoener had four kills, 22 assists and a .375 hitting percentage to go along with her match-high eight blocks. Hornet libero Breanne Menees had 30 digs and defensive specialist Sydney Kordic added nine digs.
For Idaho State, Muir’s 14 kills came with a .400 hitting percentage (14-2-30) and Whitney Bartschi (13), Breanne Van Every (10) and Fields (10) comprised the four Bengals with double figures in kills. Searle seemed to dig every ball in sight as she reached the 40-dig plateau late in the fifth set.
As a team, Idaho State hit .173 while Sacramento State hit .183. Both teams hit for identical .167 marks in the fifth set.
The Hornets host both Montana State (Thursday at 7 p.m.) and Montana (Saturday at 1 p.m.) next week. Sacramento State seniors Elston, Kirby, Menees, Schoener and Thivierge will be honored for their contributions to the program prior to Saturday’s match.