The Big Sky Conference has been celebrating the league's success both on and off the playing field by honoring 50 years of men's athletics and 25 years of women's athletics. The 50th anniversary celebrates the all-time individuals, teams and moments in the Big Sky's history, including the selection of the league's "50 Greatest Male Athletes" and the "25 Greatest Female Athletes." Along with these lists, the league will unveil the most memorable moments for both men's and women's competition.
Sacramento State's volleyball run in the 2007 Big Sky Tournament as well as the NCAA Tournament made the list of "greatest women's moments" where it checked in at No. 20. The Hornets began their postseason run by sweeping both Eastern Washington and Portland State in the Big Sky Tournament semifinal and championship matches, respectively.
After gaining the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, the Hornets drew Minnesota in the first round of event, which was played at Stanford's Maples Pavilion. Making its sixth straight appearance and 10th in 11 years at the NCAA Tournament, Sacramento State defeated Minnesota in four sets (23-30, 30-25, 30-24, 30-17). Despite a huge size disadvantage, Sacramento State limited the Gophers to a .102 hitting percentage. The Hornets' run in the NCAA Tournament came to an end in the second round where the team fell to No. 1 seed Stanford, 30-23, 30-11, 30-28.
Below is a story published on the Big Sky Conference's website....
Not only was it a four-set win, it was also an upset win in the NCAA Tournament.
Sacramento State's upset over Minnesota ranks 20th on the Big Sky Conference's list of "25 Greatest Women's Moments.''
Debby Colberg was in her final season as Sacramento State's coach during the 2007 volleyball season. The Hornets won the regular season title with a 13-3 league mark, and hosted the Big Sky Championship.
Following a first-round bye, Sacramento State defeated the No. 3 seed Eastern Washington, 3-0 (30-20, 30-17, 30-20). The Hornets then faced Portland State in the championship match.
Sacramento State had a 2-0 lead going into the intermission. The Vikings came out on fire in the third set and took a 24-12 lead. The Hornets finally had an answer and outscored Portland State 13-1 to tie the set at 25-25. Sacramento State continued the momentum, going on a 4-0 run and won the set and match on a kill by Missie Stidham. Lindsay Haupt served 12 times during that run.
Stidham recorded 29 kills and Haupt had 12 kills in the win. After the tournament, Stidham was named the Most Valuable Player, while Haupt and Michelle Franz made the all-tournament team.
The momentum didn't stop after the Big Sky Championship. It continued at the NCAA Tournament in Stanford, Calif. In the first round, the Hornets defeated Minnesota, 3-1 (23-30, 30-25, 30-24, 30-17).
It was the first win for Sacramento State in the tournament since 1998. Stidham led the way with 21 kills and 14 digs, posting her 30th double-double of the season. Haupt notched 13 kills, a .308 hitting percentage and a team-best seven blocks.
Sacramento State went on to lose in the second round to host Stanford, 3-0 (30-23, 30-11, 30-28). Stidham and Haupt both recorded 13 kills and Haupt added three blocks. Stanford went on to lose in the championship match at the NCAA Tournament, 3-2, to Penn State.
The 2007 season remains the last time a Big Sky Conference team made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
"When I think of a team like Minnesota, they were like a lot of bigger programs that underestimated us," Colberg said. "We never got to demonstrate what we could do in the first round because we usually had to play a top three program in the nation. So it was nice to finally face a team that wasn't elite, and it was a little more enjoyable for me because 2007 was my final season with the Hornets. The totality of the experience of getting to the NCAA Tournament was more valuable to me than winning a first-round match."
After that season, Colberg was selected as the Division I Pacific Region Coach of the Year, and was later inducted into the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Hall of Fame. She retired after the season. She led the Hornets to their sixth straight conference tournament title and earned her eighth Big Sky Coach of Year award.
In 32 years, she amassed an 828-292 record. Colberg has also led her teams to two national titles, 20 NCAA Tournament appearances, and 18 conference championships during her tenure.