HOME COURT KIND AGAIN AS VOLLEYBALL BEATS EASTERN WASHINGTON
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Senior Kayla Beal had 13 kills, 10 digs and six blocks, and freshman Morgan Stanley added 10 kills, 10 digs and four blocks to help Sacramento State to a 3-1 victory (25-27, 25-23, 25-15, 25-21) over Eastern Washington in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Saturday evening at Colberg Court.
With the win, the Hornets (12-11, 7-5) won their third straight match and complete the homestand with a 3-1 record. In fact, Sacramento State is now 6-2 at home against conference competition this season.
Coupled with last night's victory over Portland State, the Hornets now find themselves in a two-way tie for fifth place in the league standings with Montana. More importantly, Sacramento State also moved itself two games ahead of seventh-place Northern Colorado (5-7) and 2.5 games ahead of Eastern Washington (7-15, 4-7). The top six teams in the 11-member league qualify for the Big Sky Tournament, and only eight matches remain in the regular season.
Six of those eight matches will come on the road for the Hornets as the team beings a four-match road trip next week with contests at Southern Utah and Northern Arizona.
After matching its season high in blocks (13.0) in last night's win over Portland State, Sacramento State bumped that mark even further tonight with 14.0 team blocks. The Hornets limited Eastern Washington to a .160 hitting percentage and posted 64 digs, eight shy of a season high. Sacramento State also had 10 aces compared to just four errors.
"Eastern Washington started off the match aggressively and got us off our game a bit," Hornet head coach Ruben Volta said. "But I was pleased with how resilient we were. We made some tough digs and plays, especially during important times in the match.
"We blocked really well again tonight, and I think that block really fed off our serve. Our blocking is starting to come around, and has gotten much better as we get more experience."
The two teams combined for 17 ties and 10 lead changes in the first two sets as both squads could not establish sizeable leads. Eastern Washington saved a set point at 23-24 in the first set before running off four of the final five points to win, 27-25. In the second set, with the score tied, 23-23, the Hornets got a kill from Sloan Lovett and an ace from Hannah Hettinga to claim the frame.
After winning with relative ease in the third, Sacramento State again found itself in a battle with Eastern Washington in a fourth set that featured 10 ties and seven lead changes. However, the Hornets closed on a 9-4 run as a kill from Stanley finally ended the set at 25-21 and gave Sacramento State the match.
Four different Hornets had at least four blocks, including Courtney Dietrich (7), Beal (6), Stanley (4) and Chelcy Motes (4). Dietrich also had eight kills, a .312 hitting percentage and a season-high three aces. Dietrich has a shot at Big Sky Player of the Week after finishing the weekend with averages of 2.25 kills, 1.88 blocks and 0.38 aces per set as well as a .382 hitting percentage.
Joining Beal and Stanley in double figures in kills for the Hornets was Lovett (13). Setter Hannah Hettinga had two kills, a .500 hitting percentage, 41 assists and a team-high 13 digs, Motes had five kills and four blocks, and Lexie Skalbeck added three aces and seven digs. Libero Katie Aprile had 11 digs and four assists. Six different Hornets had at least one ace during the match.
For Eastern Washington, Talia Fermantez (11) was the only player with double digits in kills while Allison Doerpinghaus had a match-best eight blocks.