VOLLEYBALL HOSTS 12TH-ANNUAL SACRAMENTO STATE INVITATIONAL THIS WEEK
Sacramento State Game Notes (18 pages) - pdf
The Week Ahead
After opening the season by going 2-2 at last weekend's Charlotte Invitational, the Hornets begin the home portion of the schedule when the team hosts the 12th-annual Sacramento State Invitational this Friday and Saturday, Sept. 5-6.
This year's tournament features four teams and six matches over two days. The field includes the Hornets (Big Sky Conference), Fresno State (Mountain West Conference), Loyola Marymount (West Coast Conference) and UC Santa Barbara (Big West Conference).
Each team will play three matches during the round-robin tournament and a champion will be declared on the final day of competition based on record. Should two or more teams be tied for the top record, a series of tiebreakers will be used to declare the champion. An all-tournament team will be announced at the conclusion of the final match on Saturday.
The tournament schedule for Friday features matches at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sacramento State will play the 7 p.m. match against Fresno State. Saturday's schedule features matches at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The Hornets will play Saturday at 12:30 p.m. (vs. Loyola Marymount) and 7:30 p.m. (vs. UC Santa Barbara).
This week marks the beginning of another year of WatchBigSky.com, which offers fans free live video streaming of every Sacramento State volleyball home match, and every contest played in a Big Sky venue. All three Hornet matches this week, and 20 matches overall this year will be offered free via video stream by clicking here. In addition, live stats are offered for all home matches by clicking here. Links for all multimedia options (video, audio, live stats) can also be accessed on the volleyball schedule at www.hornetsports.com.
A Look At The Tournament Field
Of the four teams at this week's tournament, Loyola Marymount had the most impressive opening weekend, going 3-0 at its home tournament which included a three-set sweep of UCLA. Fresno State is 1-2, including a five-set win over UC Davis, and UC Santa Barbara is 0-3 which includes losses to Marquette and 18th-ranked Colorado State.
Sacramento State is 11-18 all-time against Fresno State, but won the teams' last meeting in 2012 on the Bulldogs' home floor. The Hornets are 4-3 vs. Loyola Marymount, including a 3-1 win in the most recent meeting at the 2005 Sacramento State Invitational. UC Santa Barbara will be making its first-ever trip to Colberg Court and the Hornets are 0-2 all-time against the Gauchos including a road loss in 1985 and a neutral-site loss in 2010.
As Young As A Roster Could Get
Of the 16 players on Sacramento State's roster, 10 are new to the program, including a school-record eight freshmen. Moreover, the roster includes no seniors, and of the squad's 16 players, only three are upperclassmen in junior outside hitters Lauren Aikels, Lauren Kissell and team captain Sloan Lovett. The six returning players are comprised of two juniors and four sophomores.
Sets Going To The Wire
Through four matches, Sacramento State has already been involved in six sets that were decided by two points or less. The Hornets are 2-4 in those sets, including a 33-31 loss in the first set to UNCG. Moreover, of the 15 sets Sacramento State has played thus far, 10 have been decided by four points or less. That includes a 25-22, 23-25, 25-23, 25-23 loss to Morgan State.
Through four matches, junior Sloan Lovett and sophomore Morgan Stanley have started each contest at outside hitter, sophomores Courtney Dietrich and Madeline Cannon have been the starting middle blockers, and freshman Kennedy Kurtz has started each match at setter. The only inconsistency has been at rightside hitter where sophomore Kendall LaVine and freshman Shannon Boyle have each started, and at libero where sophomore Lexie Skalbeck has started the last three matches after freshman Brigitte Murdock gained the start in the opener.
Among Big Sky Leaders
Although just one week into the season, there are a number of Hornets ranked among the Big Sky's top players in different categories. Kennedy Kurtz currently leads the league with an average of 10.73 assists per set, Madeline Cannon is fifth in hitting percentage (.356), Lexie Skalbeck is fifth in digs per set (4.33), and Sloan Lovett and Morgan Stanley are tied for eighth in kills per set (3.27).
Cannon Named All-Tournament
Sophomore middle blocker Madeline Cannon was the Horents' lone representative on the Charlotte Invitational all-tournament team after averaging 2.33 kills and 0.73 blocks per set to go with a .356 hitting percentage. The Sacramento, Calif., native led the Hornets in hitting percentage against both UNCG and ETSU, and paced the team in kills against Morgan State.
Sacramento State's average of 15.80 digs per set is the third best mark in the Big Sky, and nearly three digs per set better than last year's final average (13.03)…Sacramento State is 2-0 when hitting better than .200, and 0-2 when tallying a hitting percentage below .200.