VOLLEYBALL BEGINS QUEST FOR 10TH BIG SKY TOURNAMENT TITLE ON THANKSGIVING DAY

VOLLEYBALL BEGINS QUEST FOR 10TH BIG SKY TOURNAMENT TITLE ON THANKSGIVING DAY

Full set of game notes (15 pages) - pdf
Big Sky Tournament Home Page

The Week Ahead...Big Sky Tournament

• For the 18th time since joining the Big Sky in 1996, Sacramento State (16-15, 11-6) will play in the Big Sky Tournament. One season after hosting the eight-team postseason event and advancing to the championship match, the Hornets will travel to Greeley, Colo., for this year's tournament.
• The Big Sky moved the tournament to a pre-determined site this year and next, and Northern Colorado won a bid to host this year's event. Sacramento State will host next season.
• The Big Sky Tournament appearance is the fourth straight for the Hornets as Sacramento State has advanced to at least the semifinals each of the last three years.
• This year marks the sixth different location in six years for the Big Sky Tournament, including Sacramento (2017), Grand Forks (2016), Flagstaff (2015), Pocatello (2014) and Portland (2013).
• The postseason tournament (Nov. 22-24) includes the top eight teams in the 11-member Big Sky, and features four quarterfinal matches on Thanksgiving Day, two semifinal matchups on Friday, and the championship will take place on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. PST.
• The Hornets will be the No. 4 seed, and enter the tournament with a 16-15 overall record and 11-6 mark in the Big Sky. Northern Colorado, citing concerns about air quality related to the Camp Fire, did not travel to Sacramento for the regular season finale, thus forfeiting and giving the Hornets a conference win for tournament seeding purposes (12-6).
• Sacramento State will play No. 5 seed Idaho State (18-13, 12-6) in the first quarterfinal on Thursday at 9 a.m. PST. Should the Hornets win, they would advance to the semis on Friday at 3:30 p.m. PST, and another win would land the team in the championship match on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. PST.
• The seeds: No. 1 Northern Arizona (23-8, 15-3), No. 2 Idaho (21-9, 15-3), No. 3 Weber State (18-9, 13-5), No. 4 Sacramento State (16-15, 12-6), No. 5 Idaho State (18-13, 12-6), No. 6 Northern Colorado (14-12, 10-8), No. 7 Montana (10-20, 7-11) and No. 8 Montana State (11-18, 6-12).
• The winner of the Sacramento State-Idaho State matchup will play the winner of the Montana State-Northern Arizona contest in the semis on Friday. The other semifinal will be at 6 p.m. PST.
• Other quarterfinal matches on Thursday include Montana State vs. Northern Arizona at 11:30 a.m., Montana vs. Idaho at 3:30 p.m., and Northern Colorado vs. Weber State at 6 p.m.
• The winner of the championship match receives an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

Multimedia Options for the Tournament

• All matches during the tournament will be streamed free on Pluto TV Channel 231 and WatchBigSky.com. The semifinals and championship will be televised to a national audience on Eleven Sports.
• In addition, live stats will be offered for every match of the tournament.
• Multimedia options (video, live stats) for all Sacramento State games can be accessed to the right of each match on the volleyball schedule at www.hornetsports.com.

Hornets at the Big Sky Tournament

• Currently in their 23rd season in the Big Sky, the Hornets are making their 18th appearance at the Big Sky Tournament, and have posted a 24-8 record at the postseason event.
• The Hornets have won the Big Sky Tournament title nine times (1997-98, 2000, 2002-07).
• That included a run of 12 consecutive victories spanning six years from 2002-07.
• Of the team's 17 appearances at the tournament thus far, Sacramento State has reached the championship match 12 times with the only exceptions coming in 1999, 2008, 2011, 2015 and 2016.
• Also, of those 17 appearances, the Hornets failed to reach at least the semifinals just once (2008).
• Sacramento State lost in five sets to North Dakota in last year's championship match at the Nest, while falling to Northern Arizona in the semifinals in both 2016 and 2017.

vs. Tournament Field (this year, all-time, Big Sky Tourney

• #1 Northern Arizona: Went 1-1 vs. NAU this year, 36-19 all-time, 2-2 in Big Sky Tourney.
• #2 Idaho: Went 0-2 this year, 4-5 all-time, never played in Big Sky Tourney.
• #3 Weber State: 1-1 vs. year, 38-11 all-time, never played in Big Sky Tourney.
• #5 Idaho State: 1-1 this year, 33-14 all-time, never played in Big Sky Tourney.
• #6 Northern Colorado: did not play this year, 14-13 all-time, 2-1 in Big Sky Tourney.
• #7 Montana: 1-1 this year, 31-14 all-time, 1-0 in Big Sky Tourney.
• #8 Montana State: 2-0 this year, 46-6 all-time, 6-0 at Big Sky Tourney.

Senior Capsules

• Sacramento State never had a Senior Day match due to Northern Colorado forfeiting against the Hornets last Saturday. Here's a look at what has been a very good class of seniors.
Mikaela Nocetti: A third-year senior after transferring from Portland prior to her sophomore season, she has appeared in 95 matches, 352 sets and 87 starts. Over the last two seasons, Mikaela has established herself as one of the top players in the Big Sky, having garnered first team all-conference accolades a year ago and currently ranking third in the league with four kills per set. Currently has career numbers of 1,205 kills, 932 digs, 83 aces and averages of 3.42 kills and 2.51 digs per set.
Lana Brown: A fifth-year senior, Brown has played in 96 matches and 305 sets during her career. That includes 67 consecutive starts at middle blocker over the last two years. A second team all-Big Sky Conference selection a year ago, Brown currently has career numbers of 552 kills, 333 blocks and a .313 hitting percentage. The hitting percentage is the eighth best mark in program history and her career average of 1.09 blocks per set rank as the 11th best mark.
Brie Gathright: A fourth-year senior, Gathright has played in 95 consecutive matches dating back to her sophomore season, and for her career, has played in 120 matches, 422 sets and has started on 103 occasions. That includes an incredible streak of 94 consecutive starts. For her career, she has a .280 hitting percentage to go along with 551 kills, 397 blocks and 34 aces. Her 397 blocks rank as the 13th best mark in program history and her hitting percentage is the 16th best mark.
Skyler Takeda: A fourth-year senior, Takeda has appeared in 102 matches and 330 sets during her career with the Hornets. She has tallied 544 digs over her four seasons to go along with 102 aces. The aces are the most by any active Sacramento State player, and her 53 aces this season are currently the eighth best mark in the nation. She has posted double figures in digs on 13 occasions this year, and 23 times during the course of her career.

Hornet Notables

• One stat to always keep an eye on when it comes to Sacramento State volleyball...which team hits for a higher percentage. Amazingly, the Hornets are 16-1 when hitting for a higher percentage than their opponent, and 0-14 when the opponent hits for a higher mark. 
• One of the top serving teams in the nation, Sacramento State is 14th in the nation with 1.69 aces per set. The Hornets have three players rank among the conference's top 10 players in aces per set.
• Outside hitter Sarah Davis has a career-high tying streak of five consecutive matches with double figures in kills. That includes a career-best 19 kills two weeks ago at Idaho State. She currently averages 2.65 kills, 2.18 digs and 3.07 points per set.