Sacramento State volleyball wins to remain in fourth place

AJ Taylor

Hornet Volleyball edged Northern Arizona University in five sets Friday night to keep pace with Idaho State (5-4) for fourth place in the Big Sky Conference.

One game past the half-way point of Big Sky Conference play volleyball remains in the top half of their conference. Which means if the season ended today Sacramento State would be eligible for the Big Sky’s annual conference tournament.

Earlier today the Idaho State Bengals upset first place Portland State (7-2). The Hornets, who lost to the NAU Lumberjacks 3-1 in Arizona, were now playing them back at home coming off of a two game losing streak, but it was their streak of seven consecutive home victories which was lengthened as the Hornets kept their spot in the upper echelon of the conference.

“We want to be out of fourth place,” said outside hitter Janelle Currey. “We want to beat Northern Colorado tomorrow and get back up to the top.”

The Hornets began the game slowly, losing the first set by a close margin 22-25. The problem wasn’t in the score though. Players who usually dominate the offensive stat books were not coming close to matching their averages.

“(NAU’s) tempo is a little slower style. I felt like we played a little too slow tonight” said Head Coach Ruben Volta. “We weren’t able to put pressure on them but the times that we were playing the game at our speed we did pretty well”

Currey, who leads the team in kills (312), began the game slowly but improved every set. Currey had only four kills in the first set, compared to six in the second and third, eight in the fourth, and 10 in the fifth.

Freshman Kayla Beal also kept the Hornets from being buried early. Along with Currey, Beal’s kill total rose for each set. Beal tallied 3,7,12,12 and 14 kills in each of the five sets respectively.

Recently, Beal has become more and more a part of Sacramento’s offense. Mainly a defensive team the Hornets relied on Currey for most of the offense early in the season. Currey leads the team in attempts (1107). But at the start of conference play Beal’s strengths as an attacker were beginning to be utilized more often by the Hornet’s offense. Beal now leads the team in hitting percentage (.229).

“(Beal) has been improving match in and match out for us” Volta said.

The Hornets now look to extend their home winning streak again against Northern Colorado this Saturday at 7 p.m. “(This win) means a lot,” Beal said.”Tomorrow’s win will help even more in the standings in conference.” AJ Taylor can be reached at [email protected]