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The Week Ahead
Winners of three straight, Sacramento State (12-11, 7-5) embarks upon a four-match road trip, beginning with a pair of contests this week at Southern Utah on Thursday and Northern Arizona on Saturday. The Hornets and Thunderbirds will play at 6 p.m. PDT on Halloween Night, and Saturday's match at Northern Arizona is a 7:30 p.m. PDT start time.
With just eight matches remaining in the regular season, the Hornets find themselves tied for fifth place in the league standings with Montana, one game behind fourth-place Idaho State (8-4) and two games back of third-place Portland State (9-3) and Northern Arizona (9-3). More importantly, the Hornets sit two games ahead of seventh-place Northern Colorado (5-7) and three games up on eighth-place Eastern Washington (4-8).
The top six teams in the 11-member Big Sky qualify for the league's postseason event which takes place Nov. 29-30 in Portland. So it is imperative the Hornets remain among the top six teams in the conference standings over the last four weeks of the regular season.
Southern Utah (2-21, 1-10) currently sits in last place in the Big Sky standings after a heartbreaking road loss to Weber State on Saturday in which the team squandered six match points. The Thunderbirds have dropped 13 straight matches with their last win coming on Sept. 19. The Hornets swept SUU earlier this year in Sacramento and are 2-1 all-time against the T-Birds.
Northern Arizona will enter Saturday's match as winners of three straight with a 15-6 overall record and 9-3 conference mark. One of those losses came to the Hornets in Sacramento (3-1) on Sept. 27. The Lumberjacks are 8-2 at home this season, including 6-1 against Big Sky teams. The Hornets are 31-11 all-time against NAU, and 10-9 when playing in Flagstaff. However, the Lumberjacks have won each of the last three meetings between the two teams in Flagstaff.
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. Live stats for Thursday's match are available by clicking here, and Saturday's match by clicking here.
Freshman Has Big Week
Middle blocker Courtney Dietrich was named the Big Sky's Player of the Week on Monday, becoming the first freshman to garner league player of the week honors since teammate Kayla Beal accomplished the feat in 2010, and just the second Hornet in the last 13 years. The Chelan, Wash., native helped the Hornets defeat both Portland State and Eastern Washington after averaging 2.25 kills, 1.88 blocks and 3.69 points per set while hitting .382. Dietrich has started 12 straight matches, and has hit better than .300 on seven of those occasions. Her overall hitting percentage of .286 is now the top mark on the squad.
Joining the 1,000 Kill Club
Senior rightside hitter Kayla Beal recently joined the 1,000 kills club, and now has 1,064 during her four-year career. In 109 career matches played, she has 1,064 kills and 381 total blocks, good for averages of 2.56 kills and 0.92 blocks per set. She is 46 blocks shy of cracking into Sacramento State's all-time top 10, and nine blocks assists shy of the top 10 in that category. She currently has 236 kills this season after accumulating 253, 255 and 320, respectively, during her first three years.
Outside Hitters Wracking Up Kills
The trio of outside hitters Sloan Lovett (281) and Morgan Stanley (222), and rightside hitter Kayla Beal (236) have combined for 739 kills, or 69.8 percent of the team's total tally of 1,058. All three are averaging better than 2.65 kills per set while no other Hornet receiving regular playing time is averaging better than 1.36. One of the three has led the Hornets in kills in all but one match this season. In fact, Lovett (12), Beal (10) 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 3.39 kills per set while Beal ranks seventh at 3.11 per set.
Hitting For A High Percentage
Sacramento State's .241 hitting percentage is the second best mark in the Big Sky Conference, and 63rd 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 seven occasions this year after accomplishing the feat just twice all of last season. Currently, all six of the team's starters are hitting better than .210.
The Tight Sets
Sacramento State has already played 17 sets that have resulted in a two-point outcome, and the team has won just six of those nail biters. However, the Hornets have won five of the last eight two-point sets, none bigger than the 15-13 fifth-set win over Northern Colorado on Oct. 3.
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.
Sacramento State is 9-1 when hitting better than .220 in a match, and 3-10 when hitting .220 or below…the Hornets have tallied at least 12.0 team blocks each of the last three matches after accomplishing the feat just once during the fist 20 matches of the season…already seventh in school history with 2,442 career assists, setter Hannah Hettinga is currently averaging 10.01 assists per set. The Hornets have not had a setter average at least 10 assists per set since the 2007 season (Rose Burke)…Hettinga is also the only Hornet to start all 23 matches…in her last match against NAU, middle blocker Chelcy Motes had six kills, a .667 hitting percentage and 5 blocks.
April 8, 2014 VOLLEYBALL RELEASES ITS 2014 SCHEDULE
January 27, 2014 SACRAMENTO STATE EARNS 22 FALL BIG SKY ALL-ACADEMIC HONORS
January 24, 2014 VOLLEYBALL ADDS DIV. I TRANSFER AND LOCAL PRODUCT MADELINE CANNON
November 30, 2013 VOLLEYBALL'S HOME WINNING STREAK NAMED BIG SKY'S 16TH GREATEST MOMENT
November 28, 2013 VOLLEYBALL’S BEAL NAMED SECOND TEAM ALL-BIG SKY
November 23, 2013 VOLLEYBALL LOSES IN FIVE, ELIMINATED FROM BIG SKY TOURNAMENT CONTENTION
November 21, 2013 VOLLEYBALL ONE STEP CLOSER TO PLAYOFF SPOT AFTER WIN AT MONTANA STATE
November 20, 2013 VOLLEYBALL LOOKS TO GRAB PLAYOFF SPOT IN FINAL WEEK OF REGULAR SEASON
November 18, 2013 VOLLEYBALL SIGNS BOYLE, BROWN AND KURTZ TO LETTERS OF INTENT
November 16, 2013 VOLLEYBALL PICKS UP HUGE WIN, CRUSHES WEBER STATE
November 15, 2013 VOLLEYBALL FALLS TO IDAHO STATE, WILL PLAY HOME FINALE TOMORROW
November 14, 2013 FORMER HORNET LINDSAY HAUPT NAMED THE BIG SKY'S 19TH BEST FEMALE ATHLETE
November 14, 2013 FINAL HOMESTAND FOR VOLLEYBALL WITH POSTSEASON IMPLICATIONS ON TAP
November 11, 2013 VOLLEYBALL FALLS AT NORTHERN COLORADO, STILL CLINGS TO A PLAYOFF SPOT
November 9, 2013 VOLLEYBALL FALLS IN THREE AT NORTH DAKOTA
October 31, 2013 WINNING STREAK AT FOUR AS VOLLEYBALL BEATS SOUTHERN UTAH
October 30, 2013 VOLLEYBALL LOOKS TO INCREASE WINNING STREAK THIS WEEK ON THE ROAD
October 26, 2013 HOME COURT KIND AGAIN AS VOLLEYBALL BEATS EASTERN WASHINGTON
October 25, 2013 VOLLEYBALL SECURES HUGE HOME VICTORY OVER PORTLAND STATE
October 23, 2013 VOLLEYBALL HOSTS A PAIR OF LEAGUE MATCHES THIS FRIDAY AND SATURDAY
October 19, 2013 VOLLEYBALL HITS SEASON-HIGH .398 IN FOUR-SET WIN OVER MONTANA STATE
October 18, 2013 VOLLEYBALL FALLS AT HOME TO MONTANA
October 12, 2013 VOLLEYBALL NOW 4-4 IN CONFERENCE PLAY AFTER LOSS AT IDAHO STATE
October 11, 2013 VOLLEYBALL PICKS UP FIVE-SET ROAD WIN AT WEBER STATE
October 9, 2013 VOLLEYBALL TRAVELS TO MATCHUPS AT WEBER STATE AND IDAHO STATE
October 3, 2013 VOLLEYBALL WINS FIVE-SET NAIL BITER OVER NORTHERN COLORADO
October 2, 2013 VOLLEYBALL LOOKS TO EXTEND WINNING STREAK THIS WEEK AT HOME
September 28, 2013 VOLLEYBALL DOMINATES SOUTHERN UTAH IN THREE QUICK SETS
September 27, 2013 VOLLEYBALL HITS FOR HIGH PERCENTAGE, DEFEATS NORTHERN ARIZONA
September 26, 2013 VOLLEYBALL BEGINS HOMESTAND WITH MATCHES FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT
September 21, 2013 VOLLEYBALL DROPS BIG SKY MATCHUP AT PORTLAND STATE
September 19, 2013 VOLLEYBALL LOSES FIVE-SET HEARTBREAKER TO EWU IN BIG SKY OPENER
September 18, 2013 VOLLEYBALL OPENS BIG SKY PLAY THURSDAY AT EASTERN WASHINGTON
September 14, 2013 VOLLEYBALL CONCLUDES TOURNAMENT WITH LOSS TO BOISE STATE
September 13, 2013 LOVETT’S 14 KILLS NOT ENOUGH IN VOLLEYBALL’S LOSS TO IDAHO
September 13, 2013 VOLLEYBALL OPENS TOURNAMENT WITH LOSS TO NORTH TEXAS
September 10, 2013 VOLLEYBALL TRAVELS TO UC DAVIS TONIGHT, BOISE STATE LATER THIS WEEK
September 10, 2013 VOLLEYBALL FALLS AT UC DAVIS
September 6, 2013 VOLLEYBALL STUMBLES AT HOME AGAINST SAN JOSE STATE
September 4, 2013 VOLLEYBALL HOSTS 11TH-ANNUAL SACRAMENTO STATE INVITATIONAL
September 2, 2013 LOVETT CAPS BIG WEEK WITH BIG SKY VOLLEYBALL PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS
September 1, 2013 LOVETT WITH A HUGE DAY, VOLLEYBALL NOW 3-0 AFTER WIN OVER LA SALLE
August 28, 2013 VOLLEYBALL BEGINS 2013 SEASON ON SATURDAY IN PHILADELPHIA
August 23, 2013 VOLLEYBALL HOSTS ALUMNI MATCH THIS SATURDAY
August 22, 2013 2013 VOLLEYBALL SEASON OUTLOOK