VOLLEYBALL LOOKS TO EXTEND WINNING STREAK THIS WEEK AT HOME
Sacramento State Game Notes (18 pages) - pdf
The Week Ahead
Coming off a pair of victories last week against Northern Arizona and Southern Utah, Sacramento State (7-8, 2-2) continues its four-match homestand this week. The Hornets will host Northern Colorado on Thursday at 7 p.m., and North Dakota on Saturday at 1 p.m. Saturday's match is part of a doubleheader on campus that will see the Hornet football squad play its Homecoming Game against Northern Colorado that evening at 6 p.m.
Dating back to last season, Sacramento State has now won four straight matches against conference teams at home. In fact, the Hornets, who will play six of their next eight at home, are 114-21 against conference teams at Colberg Court since joining the Big Sky in 1996.
Sacramento State is currently locked in a four-way tie for fourth place in the conference standings, trailing North Dakota (4-0), Portland State (4-0) and Northern Arizona (3-1). Though still very early in the season, the top six teams in the 11-member league qualify for the Big Sky Tournament in Portland on Nov. 29-30.
Northern Colorado will enter Thursday's match with a 5-9 overall record and a 1-3 conference mark. The Bears, who won last year's Big Sky Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament, have dropped six of their last seven. Ninth-year head coach Lyndsey Oates will not be on the trip with the team as she and her husband are expecting their first child on Wednesday. The Bears are 11-8 all-time against the Hornets, and have won 11 of the last 12 meetings.
North Dakota (9-7, 4-0) has won five straight and eight of its last nine matches, including home wins last week against Weber State and Idaho State. UND is currently tied for first in the conference standings, and leads the league in kills and hitting percentage. North Dakota joined the Big Sky for the first time last year, and owns a 2-1 all-time record vs. the Hornets.
Like every match the remainder of the season, both Thursday and Saturday's contests can be viewed live and free on www.WatchBigSky.com. Viewers just need to create a user name and password through the website, and tune in about 5-10 minutes before the match begins. Brian Berger will handle the play-by-play for Thursday's match, but no play-by-play audio will be provided for Saturday. Like every home match, live stats will be offered through Sacramento State's website by clicking here.
Ticket Options for Saturday VB/FB Doubleheader
Fans wishing to attend both the volleyball (1 p.m.) and Homecoming football (6 p.m.) games on Saturday can do so for one low price of $10. The special admission price of $10 will get fans a reserved football ticket and a volleyball ticket for Saturday's matchups. That's a savings of $16 as the normal cost for a volleyball ticket is $8, and a reserved football ticket is $18. Fans can purchase this special offer ONLY at the ticket table at the entrance to the volleyball match, which will be open from 12 p.m. until approximately 1:45 p.m.
The Lovett and Stanley Show
Last week, Hornet outside hitters Sloan Lovett and Morgan Stanley were nearly unstoppable and big factors in Sacramento State beating Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. Both averaged at least 4.00 kills per set during the week, and hit better than .380. In fact, the pair combined to average 8.71 kills to go along with a .397 hitting percentage. What makes those numbers even more encouraging is Lovett is just a sophomore and Stanley a true freshman. Lovett has established herself as one of the top attacking outside hitters in the Big Sky, currently ranking third among league leaders in both kills (3.43 kps) and points (4.03 pps), and first by a wide margin in service aces (0.44 aps). Stanley has started all but one match, and is averaging 2.86 kills and 1.96 digs per set. Both Lovett (.255) and Stanley (.223) are hitting for respectable hitting percentages for an outside hitter.
Hitting For A High Percentage
Sacramento State hit better than .310 in both wins last week, and the team's overall hitting percentage of .236 is now the second best mark in the Big Sky. The Hornets have not hit better than .235 in a season since the 1995 squad hit for a .259 percentage. The team has already hit better than .300 on five occasions this year after accomplishing the feat just twice all of last season. Currently, five of the team's six starters are each hitting better than .220, and every non-defensive specialist on the squad is hitting above .170.
Not very often does a team field a pair of six-rotation outside hitters, and a six-rotation rightside hitter on the floor at the same time. But the Hornets employ that strategy as freshman outside hitter Morgan Stanley and sophomore outside hitter Sloan Lovett, as well as senior rightside hitter Kayla Beal each play all six rotations.
Youth Is Served
Sacramento State has started six underclassmen this year, including four freshmen and two sophomores. The team has consistently started freshman Morgan Stanley and sophomore Sloan Lovett at outside hitter, a freshman has started at middle blocker in all 15 matches (Courtney Dietrich or Kendall LaVine), and freshman Lexie Skalbeck has started a pair of matches at libero/defensive specialist. In addition, sophomore Lauren Aikels has three starts at rightside hitter.
Sacramento State is 7-0 when hitting better than .220, and 0-8 when hitting .220 or below…among Big Sky leaders, senior setter and team co-captain Hannah Hettinga has moved into fourth with an average of 10.04 assists per set. The Hornets have not had a setter average at least 10 assists per set since the 2007 season (Rose Burke)…senior co-captain Kayla Beal has posted at least eight kills in every match she has appeared, an impressive feat for a rightside hitter. She is now fifth in the league in points (3.67 pps), seventh in kills (3.09 kps) and 10th in hitting percentage (.265)…freshman middle blocker Courtney Dietrich has tallied at least six kills and a .500 hitting percentage twice in the last four matches…libero Katie Aprile moved up to seventh in the Big Sky with an average of 3.71 digs per set…senior middle Chelcy Motes had six kills, five blocks and a .667 hitting percentage in Friday's win vs. Northern Arizona.