SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Idaho State setter Lori Mendenhall-Lee nearly had a triple-double (9 kills, 37 assists, 11 digs) and Tressa Lyman added 14 kills to lead the Bengals to a 3-1 victory (25-21, 22-25, 25-15, 25-15) over Sacramento State in a Big Sky Conference volleyball matchup Friday evening at Colberg Court.
The loss dropped the Hornets (13-15, 8-9) into a tie for sixth place with Northern Colorado, which defeated Eastern Washington in five sets tonight. The top six teams in the 11-member Big Sky qualify for the league's postseason event in Portland on Nov. 29-30. If the season ended today, Northern Colorado, which owns the tiebreaker over Sacramento State, would be the No. 6 seed and the Hornets would be eliminated.
Fortunately for Sacramento State, there are still three matches remaining in the regular season. One of those is tomorrow night in the home finale against Weber State at 7 p.m. The match also represents Senior Night, as Hornet seniors Chelcy Motes, Katie Aprile, Hannah Hettinga and Kayla Beal will be honored prior to the match for their contributions to the program.
Both Sacramento State and Northern Colorado also have an opportunity to catch fifth-place Montana (9-8). What it boils down to is a three-team race for the final two playoff spots, and the Hornets do not own the tiebreaker against Northern Colorado or Montana. Below is a look at each of the three teams' remaining schedule.
- Montana (9-8): Nov. 16 on the road at Southern Utah; Nov. 23 at home vs. Sacramento State; Nov. 25 on the road at Montana State.
- Sacramento State (8-9): Nov. 16 at home vs. Weber State; Nov. 21 on the road at Montana State; Nov. 23 on the road at Montana.
- Northern Colorado (8-9): Nov. 16 on the road at Portland State; Nov. 21 at home vs. Southern Utah; Nov. 23 at home vs. Northern Arizona.
With the victory Idaho State, which swept the season series from the Hornets, improved to 19-10 overall and 12-5 in the conference. The Bengals have now won five straight over Sacramento State dating back to the 2011 season.
Idaho State hit .333 in the match while limiting the Hornets to a .176 percentage. ISU dominated at the net, compiling 16.0 team blocks, tied for the highest mark by a Sacramento State opponent this season. In addition, the Bengals had just 12 errors in 126 attacks while the Hornets had 24 errors in 142 total attacks.
"Idaho State is a very good team, and they attack the ball really well," Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. "I thought their setter played well and kept their offense in system. They really made it hard on us throughout the evening, and we didn't respond well."
Three Sacramento State players finished with double figures in kills, comprised of Beal (12 kills, 11 digs and 4 blocks), sophomore Sloan Lovett (12 kills) and freshman Morgan Stanley (10 kills, 8 digs and 3 aces). Beal hit .276 and was the only Hornet with more than two kills to hit better than .167. The double-double was her seventh of the season.
Hettinga added two kills, 43 assists, seven digs and a .667 hitting percentage, freshman Courtney Dietrich had six kills and three blocks, and Motes tallied five kills and two blocks. Aprile led the Hornets with 13 digs and freshman Lexie Skalbeck added six digs and an ace.
Idaho State used just eight players in the match, and four of those players hit for high percentages, including Mendenhall-Lee (.474), Lyman (.371), Makenzie Filer (5 kills, .364) and Marissa Todd (11 kills, .308).