Volleyball splits Big Sky play this week

Satchi Hover

Sacramento State’s volleyball team went 1-1 in this week’s Big Sky Conference play, as they took down Northern Colorado in Thursday night’s affair, but dropped Saturday’s afternoon match against North Dakota.

The Hornets outlasted the Bears Thursday in a grueling five sets (25-14, 16-25, 21-25, 25-22, 15-12) to extend their winning streak to three matches.

Sophomore outside hitter Sloan Lovett would continue her recent dominance with 17 kills and a .333 hitting percentage.

Senior outside hitter Alyssa Wilson led Northern Colorado with 15 kills and a .414 percentage. Junior middle blocker Brianna Strong followed with 14 kills and a .480 hitting percentage.

The Hornets were able to overcome the Bear’s team totals of 65 kills and .329 hitting percentage. Sacramento State would finish the night with 57 kills and a .304 percentage.

The win put Sacramento State at 8-8 on the season heading into Saturday’s match with conference leader North Dakota.

Things did not go the Hornet’s way as they fell in four sets (25-22, 16-25, 17-25, 18-25) to the Big Sky powerhouse.

With the loss, Sacramento State fell a game under .500 to 8-9 (3-3 in conference play), while North Dakota improved to 10-7 overall, with a perfect 5-0 conference record.

Head coach Ruben Volta gave credit to the way the opposition played.

“They played really well and consistent and we had a hard time,” Volta said. “Obviously they hit for a high percentage; it’s a good team we played against.”

North Dakota tallied 65 kills and a .336 hitting percentage, while Sacramento State finished with 45 kills and a .206 percentage.

Freshman middle blocker Courtney Dietrich was a bright spot for the Hornets as she finished with 8 kills and a .333 hitting percentage. Fellow middle blocker and senior Chelcy Motes had 8 kills as well to go along with a .500 percentage.

Dietrich shared her thoughts on one of her best performances this season.

“I came in and told myself I was going to try and work as hard as I could,” she said. “ I knew North Dakota was pretty good coming in at 4-0, so I was going to try and contribute to the team as much as I could.”

Despite the loss, Volta said there were positive things to take away from the team’s play this weekend.

“I think we continue to get better and better,” he said. “I was really pleased with our effort in game one; we played really hard and didn’t let things slow us down.”

Dietrich shared similar sentiments on the way the team played against both opponents.

“I think that overall we’ve been playing a lot better than we had from the very beginning of the season,” she said. “I think that our confidence level is getting higher, and that we are going to continue to get better in the conference.”

Looking ahead to next week’s practice sessions, the team will be focused on improving their defensive effort.

“We’re probably going to be focusing a lot on defense,” Dietrich said. “Our blocking and digging is probably one of the main things we’re going to be focusing on right now.”

The Hornets will hit the road next as they face Weber State (5-14 overall, 1-4 in conference) Oct. 11, with Idaho State (9-7, 3-2) to follow Oct 12.