Game Notes (17 pages) - pdf
The Week Ahead
Sacramento State will begin a four-match homestand this week against Montana on Friday and Montana State on Saturday. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m. at Colberg Court.
The Hornets, who split a pair of road contests last week, own a 9-10 overall record and a 4-4 mark in the Big Sky Conference. The team is currently in a two-way tie for fifth place in the league standings with Montana, making Friday's match even more significant.
The top six teams in the 11-member Big Sky qualify for the league tournament (Nov. 29-30), and the top four squads are currently North Dakota (8-0), Northern Arizona (6-2), Idaho State (6-2) and Portland State (6-2). Trailing the Hornets and Montana are Eastern Washington (3-5), Montana State (3-5), Northern Colorado (2-6), Weber State (1-7) and Southern Utah (1-7).
Twelve matches remain in the regular season, and the Hornets will play six of those at home, and six on the road. Sacramento State is 4-3 at home this year, and 3-1 against conference competition, including wins over Northern Arizona, Southern Utah and Northern Colorado.
Montana will enter Friday's matchup with a 7-10 overall record and a 4-4 league mark. The Grizzlies have split four conference road matches thus far with wins coming at Eastern Washington and Weber State. The Hornets are 27-10 all-time against the Grizzlies, including a 14-3 record in Sacramento, and have not lost to the Griz at Colberg Court since 2009.
Montana State (5-14, 3-5) has struggled this year, but not lately. The Bobcats have won three straight matches, which includes a five-set win over Northern Arizona on Friday. MSU is 1-6 on the road this year with the lone win coming at Weber State. Sacramento State is 38-6 all-time against the Bobcats, including a 21-1 mark at Colberg Court. The Hornets have won 19 straight home matches against Montana State dating back to 1997.
Sports Chalet Kids Day On Tap For Friday
Friday is being tabbed as Sports Chalet Kids Day as every member of the volleyball team will be signing autographs for fans at the conclusion of the match. Free posters will be available at the autograph tables.
Breast Cancer Awareness Day On Saturday
On Saturday, fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of breast cancer awareness. Sacramento State players will be wearing pink items (including pregame warmup shirts), and a donation table will be set up at the entrance to Colberg Court with all proceeds going to Mercy General Hospital.
Like every match the remainder of the season, both Friday 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. Andrew Tomsky will handle the play-by-play duties for Friday night's match against Montana, but there will be no play-by-play audio for Saturday against Montana State. Live stats for both matches are available by clicking here.
Hitting For A High Percentage
Sacramento State's .236 hitting percentage is the second best mark in the Big Sky Conference, and 71st in the nation among the 334 Div. I institutions. 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 six occasions this year after accomplishing the feat just twice all of last season. Currently, all six of the team's starters are hitting at least .210. Sacramento State has been especially good at home, where the team is hitting .271, and has hit better than .300 in three of the last four matches.
The Tight Sets
Sacramento State has already played 13 sets that have resulted in a two-point outcome, and the team has won just four of those nail biters. However, the Hornets have won three of the last five two-point sets, none bigger than the 15-13 fifth-set win over Northern Colorado on Oct. 3. Last week, the Hornets pulled out a 29-27 victory in the third frame of an eventual five-set win at Weber State.
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.
Home vs. Road
Sacramento State is currently 4-3 at home, and 2-5 when playing on an opponent's home court. When looking at the home vs. road splits for the Hornets, it easy to see why. Plain and simple, Sacramento State is a much better attacking team at home. When playing at Colberg Court, the Hornets are hitting .271 while averaging 12.39 kills per set, and the team has hit better than .300 on four occasions. In seven road matches, team is averaging 10.81 kills per set while hitting .197, and the only plus-.300 hitting percentage came during the opening week of the season at La Salle.
Youth Is Served
Of the team's current starting lineup, outside hitters Sloan Lovett and Morgan Stanley, middle blockers Chelcy Motes and Courtney Dietrich, setter Hannah Hettinga and rightside hitter Kayla Beal, three are underclassmen. That includes two true freshmen in Stanley and Dietrich and a sophomore in Lovett. A total of six underclassmen have started matches this year for Sacramento State, including four freshmen.
Outside Hitters Wracking Up Kills
The trio of outside hitters Sloan Lovett (231) and Morgan Stanley (178), and rightside hitter Kayla Beal (190) have combined for 599 kills, or nearly 70 percent of the team's total tally of 863. All three are averaging better than 2.60 kills per set while no other Hornet receiving regular playing time is averaging better than 1.26. One of the three has led the Hornets in kills in all but one match this season. In fact, Lovett (9), Beal (8) and Stanley (4) have each led or tied for the team lead in kills on at least four occasions. Lovett is currently third in the league with an average of 3.40 kills per set while Beal ranks eighth at 3.06 per set.
Outside hitter Sloan Lovett missed Saturday's match at Idaho State with a shoulder injury, and her status for this week is questionable…middle blocker Courtney Dietrich is now hitting .293 this season, a mark which would rank her seventh in the Big Sky if she had enough kills to qualify…middle blocker Chelcy Motes has 23 blocks over the last four matches and is now averaging a team-high 0.90 blocks per set…setter Hannah Hettinga is sixth in the Big Sky with an average of 9.92 assists per set as she attempts to become the first Hornet since 2007 to average at least 10 assists.