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VOLLEYBALL OPENS BIG SKY PLAY ON THE ROAD AT EASTERN WASHINGTON AND IDAHO

VOLLEYBALL OPENS BIG SKY PLAY ON THE ROAD AT EASTERN WASHINGTON AND IDAHO

Full set of game notes (pdf) - 7 pages

The Week Ahead

• After playing 13 non-league matches, Sacramento State (5-8, 0-0) will finally open Big Sky Conference play this week. The Hornets will play on the road Thursday at Eastern Washington at 6 p.m., followed by a Saturday matchup with Idaho at 1 p.m.
• This week will also put an end to a 12-game road trip that began on Sept. 3. In fact, the Hornets do not play at home during the entire month of September. Sacramento State is 3-7 on the current road trip after beginning the season at home by winning two of three at the Sacramento State Invitational.
• The Hornets have won at least 11 conference matches each of the last four years. That includes an 11-6 mark a year ago. Over the last four years, Sacramento State has combined for a 51-14 league record, which includes winning the 2017 Big Sky regular season championship.
• Each team in the 11-member Big Sky will play 18 conference matches during the regular season, leading up the conference tournament Nov. 28-30. Sacramento State is hosting this year's Big Sky Tournament that begins on Thanksgiving Day with four matches.
• The Hornets, who have just one senior on the roster, played well last weekend, going 2-1 at the Wildcat Classic in Tucson. Sacramento State defeated both New Mexico State (3-2) and Alabama State (3-0), and nearly forced a fifth set against Arizona before falling in four.
• Sacramento State is 3-7 away from home this year, but 0-4 when playing on an opponent's home floor. That includes a loss to then 20th-ranked Hawai'i.
• After this week's games conclude, Sacramento State will enjoy a stretch that will see the team play seven of its next 10 matches at home. The Big Sky home opener is Oct. 3 vs. Southern Utah.

This Week's Multimedia Options

• Video will be offered for every match the remainder of the regular season as all conference matches are aired live and free via both Pluto.TV and watchbigsky.com. Thursday's game at Eastern Washington will air on Pluto.TV channel 534 and Saturday's game at Idaho on channel 542.
• Live stats will be made available for every game of the tournament.
• Reminder that multimedia options (video, live stats) can always be accessed to the right of each match on the volleyball schedule at www.hornetsports.com.

vs. This Week's Opponents

• Eastern Washington will enter Thursday's game with a 2-10 record. The Eagles, who have lost eight straight, have yet to play a home match this season. Both of their victories have come in five sets over Cal Baptist and Milwaukee.
• Sacramento State is 36-17 all-time against Eastern Washington, including five straight wins in the series. The Hornets are 12-12 when playing in Cheney on the Eagles' home floor. Between 2000 and 2006, Sacramento State and Eastern Washington played against each other in the Big Sky Tournament championship match seven consecutive years with the Hornets winning six of those meetings.
• Idaho enters the week with a 4-8 record, including a 1-2 mark at home. Similar to the Hornets, the Vandals began the year in late August with a home tournament and have not played at home since falling to UIC in five sets on Aug. 31.
• Sacramento State is 4-5 all-time against Idaho as the Vandals joined the Big Sky in 2014. The Hornets are 1-2 when playing on Idaho's home floor with the lone win coming in three sets on Oct. 19, 2017. Idaho won at home over the Hornets in 2015 (3-2) and a year ago (3-1). Last season, Idaho was the only team in the Big Sky to sweep a two-game series against the Hornets.

Hornet Notables

• Sacramento State enters conference play seeking its 10th Big Sky regular season championship. Since joining the league in 1996, the team has accounted for nine regular season titles - 1997-01, 2005-07, 2017.
• This season, the Hornets are 3-0 in five-set matches, but 0-5 in four setters.
• Four players have started every match this season - outside hitters Sarah Davis and Macey Hayden, middle blocker Cianna Andrews and rightside hitter Kayla Subbert.
Sarah Davis now leads the Big Sky with 3.80 kills per set. She has tallied double-figure kills in seven straight matches and in 11 of 13 games this year. That includes five double-doubles and seven matches with over 15 kills. The Hornets' lone senior and team co-captain has led the team in kills in seven straight, and 11 of 13 matches this year.
• The Hornets have started two players at libero this season - Paige Swinney and Michelle Taynton. Swinney has started nine matches at the positon and currently ranks sixth in the Big Sky with 3.81 digs per set. Taynton, who was named the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, has started four of the last five matches at the position. In the four matches Taynton has started at libero, she is averaging 3.75 digs per set.
• Middle blocker Sarah Falk started the first four matches of the year, then came off the bench in seven matches, and has now started the last two. Over the last two matches since regaining her starting role, the sophomore has responded with 1.43 kills and 0.86 blocks per set to go along with a .389 hitting percentage.
• Over their last nine matches, the Hornets have played seven teams that qualified for the postseason a year ago, including six that reached the NCAA Tournament. Denver, Hawai'i, Murray State, New Mexico State, Alabama State and Arizona each made the NCAA Tournament in 2018 while Bradley qualified for the NIVC.
Macey Hayden has tallied at least seven kills in nine straight matches, including a career-best stretch of five consecutive matches with double figure kills stretching from Sept. 6-14. Overall, the junior outside hitter is averaging 2.31 kills, 2.29 digs and 2.70 points per set.
• Middle blocker Cianna Andrews is hitting .328 over the last four matches, including 11 kills and .381 vs. New Mexico State, eight kills and .500 vs. Alabama State, and six kills and .400 at UIC. Overall, she is averaging 1.94 kills and 1.00 blocks per set while hitting .263.
• Setter Ashtin Olin has 185 assists over the last five matches, good for 9.74 per set over that span. She has a team-best six double-doubles this season (assists, digs), including three in the last five matches. Olin was a second team all-conference selection a year ago.
• Over the last three weeks, Sacramento State has logged 9,956 airplane miles on its road trips. Tack on 1,320 round trip air miles for this week's matches, and the Hornets will have logged 11,276 air miles during their 12-game road trip.