Volleyball beats Montana State, pads lead over Idaho State

AJ Taylor

The Sacramento State volleyball team beat Montana State on Thursday night securing its fourth place standing in the Big Sky Conference for at least one more game.

The Hornets were led to their win over the Bobcats (3-22, 2-12) by seniors Eryn Kirby and Maddison Thivierge who combined for 31 kills and 36.5 points. The win added a half game to the Hornets’ lead over the fifth place Idaho State Bengals.

Big Sky games are becoming increasingly important for the Hornets, who hold the fourth and final playoff spot with just three games to go. 

Since Oct. 26, when the Hornets last sat atop the Big Sky standings, they have gone 2-3.

The Hornets took the match over the Big Sky’s last place team in four sets on Sacramento State’s Colberg Court (23-25, 25-15, 25-16, 25-21).

Kirby powered her way to a double-double on Thursday by notching 17 kills and 16 digs.

“Every time I got a set I felt like I had really good options,” Kirby said. “We want to be in Portland for Thanksgiving.”

The Big Sky Conference Tournament will be hosted at Portland State on Nov. 25 and 26. The Hornets last qualified for the tournament in 2008.

Head coach Ruben Volta said the team entered the first set with less intensity than it did the next three. Volta attributes the win to the Hornets’ consistent defense.

“We like to control everything and I felt like we really shut down their offense because no matter where they hit it we seemed to have a defender there or was able to block it so we were able to control the whole court,” Volta said. “We’ve done this all year.”

The Hornets won five consecutive games at home before Idaho State snapped that streak last week.

Thivierge said the team began slowly tonight but found a consistent rhythm in the final three sets.

Finding consistency will be key for the Hornets during their last three regular season games, Thivierge said, but the most important thing will be playing with a never say die attitude.

“We had parts of our game that were solid and other parts where we have room to improve,” Thivierge said. “I think we always have room to improve. We just need to compete, bottom line.”

AJ Taylor can be reached at [email protected].