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Big Sky Conference standings

The Week Ahead

• Needing just two wins to clinch the Big Sky Conference's regular season championship, Sacramento State (20-8, 11-1) will play its final two home matches this week on Thursday vs. Montana State (8-13, 4-8) at 7 p.m. and Saturday vs. Portland State (18-6, 9-3) at 1 p.m.
• The Hornets had their 10-game winning streak snapped last Thursday with a 3-2 road loss to Northern Arizona (16-14 in the 5th). That also snapped an 18-game winning streak over Big Sky schools during the regular season. Still, the team's 11-1 Big Sky record is tied for the program's best mark since joining the conference in 1996. A win on Thursday would allow the Hornets to improve to 12-1, something only the 1998, 2005 and 2006 Hornet squads were able to accomplish.
• With just four matches remaining in the regular season, Sacramento State's magic number to clinch the Big Sky's regular season championship is down to two. Should the Hornets win both matches this week, they would win their first regular season title since 2007, and host the Big Sky Tournament Nov. 16-18. The winner of the Big Sky Tournament receives an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
• Saturday will also be Senior Day as Hornet seniors Shannon Boyle, Erin Cochran, Kennedy Kurtz, Hannah Meadows, Brigitte Murdock and Julia Wright will be honored prior to the match for their contributions to the program.
• Saturday's win at Southern Utah allowed the Hornets to secure their third straight 20-win season. During that time, the Hornets are also a combined 36-8 in Big Sky play.
• Sacramento State will bring a 22-game Big Sky home winning streak into Thursday's game with Montana State. The Hornets have not lost at home to a conference foe since the 2014 season.

In The Standings/Magic Number at 2

• Only three teams have a realistic shot of winning the Big Sky regular season title and hosting the conference tournament. Those are North Dakota (9-3) in the North Division, and both Sacramento State (11-1) and Portland State (9-3) in the South Division.
• Sacramento State owns the tiebreakers over North Dakota and Portland State after having defeated both teams earlier this season. The Hornets, who are also seeking their second consecutive South Division title, would earn the right to host the tournament with two wins this week.
• Despite the magic number being down to two with four games left, Sacramento State's remaining schedule isn't easy. The Hornets host a Montana State squad that won at North Dakota on Saturday in five sets, ending the Fighting Hawks' 22-game home winning streak. On Saturday, the Hornets face a Portland State team that is 18-6 overall and 7-2 on the road. Next week, Sacramento State travels to face an Idaho State team that has won three straight and nine of its last 10. The Hornets conclude the regular season at Weber State, a team that gave the Hornets fits in a 3-1 SAC victory (25-21, 19-25, 25-22, 25-23) back on Sept. 21 inside the Nest.

This Week's Multimedia Options

• Free live video will be offered for every match the rest of the season via www.WatchBigSky.com. That includes this week's games vs. Montana State and Portland State.
• Multimedia options (video, live stats) can be accessed to the right of each match on the volleyball schedule at www.hornetsports.com.

vs. This Week's Opponents

• Sacramento State has dominated this week's opponents, combining for an 86-28 all-time record (.754 winning percentage) vs. Montana State and Portland State.
• The Hornets have owned Montana State, posting a 43-6 all-time record against the Bobcats. That includes a current 10-game winning streak that dates back to 2010.
• In addition, the Hornets are 23-1 at home vs. the Bobcats, including a current streak of 21 straight wins inside the Nest. The only home loss to Montana State came in five sets on Oct. 18, 1997.
• Including its three-set sweep at Portland State (25-22, 25-20, 25-19) on Sept. 30, Sacramento State is 43-22 vs. the Vikings. That includes five straight wins in the series.
• The Hornets are 20-4 at home vs. Portland State, including a 3-1 win inside the Nest a year ago.

Riding A Historic Season

• Prior to last week's loss at Northern Arizona, the Hornets had won 10 straight matches overall, and 18 consecutive regular season conference matches. The 10-game winning streak was the second longest in the last 10 years. In addition, the 18 straight regular season conference wins was the second longest streak in school history, trailing the 20 straight put up by the 2005 and 2006 squads.
• Sacramento State's 10-0 record was the best start to a Big Sky season in school history, and the team's current mark of 11-1 is tied for the best mark after 12 games.
• The Hornets have currently won 22 consecutive home matches against Big Sky opposition, a streak which dates back to Sept. 24, 2015.
• Overall, the Hornets have won 17 of their last 20 games after beginning the season with a 3-5 record. Sacramento State is 6-2 in 3-set matches, 9-3 in 4-set matches and 5-3 in 5-set matches.

Hornet Notables

• One of the most prolific setters in school history, senior Kennedy Kurtz has also made her mark on the Big Sky record book. She is currently fourth all-time in league history with 5,134 assists and needs 19 assists to move into third place and 66 assists to move into second place. The No. 1 spot is held by former Hornet setter Maureen Rafferty, who had 6,510 assists from 1996-99. Kurtz's 1,248 assists this season easily leads the nation.
• Senior outside hitter Shannon Boyle (1,005 kills, 987 digs) needs just 13 digs to become the 12th Hornet in the last 30 years to reach the 1,000 kills/1,000 digs milestone. The last Sacramento State player to accomplish the feat was outside hitter Janelle Currey in 2012.
Ruben Volta has used the same starters in every match: Boyle and Nocetti at outside hitter, Brown and Gathright in the middle, Kurtz at setter, Davis on the right side and Murdock at libero.
• Should the Hornets win the Big Sky's regular season championship, it would mark the program's ninth regular season title (1997-01, 2005-07) since joining the league in 1996.
• Also, should Sacramento State host the Big Sky Tournament, it would mark the ninth time the program has hosted the postseason event, and first since the 2007 season.
• In conference play, the Hornets rank second in the league in kills (14.82 kps), digs (18.82 dps), aces (1.67 per set) and assists (14.18 aps). They are also third in hitting percentage (.254).