Hornets go 13-1 in September

Elliot Jones

The Sacramento State volleyball team had a near perfect month of September going 13-1 overall and 2-0 in Big Sky Conference play. By the end of September last season, they were 5-12 and 0-2 in conference play.

Only the 1995 team has had a better start to the year in school history.

“We just have the experience,” said Sloan Lovett. “We were really young last year, but now this year we know what it takes to win a game. Last year we couldn’t really finish the close games, but now we want to fight and finish the game.”

Last Thursday’s match against Southern Utah University was the first conference match of the season and the first time Sac State would go into a fifth set. Both of last season’s matches against Southern Utah went five sets with the Hornets on the losing end of both.

The match against Northern Arizona University took four sets to finish, but it was a hard fought battle by both teams. With first place position in conference on the line the Hornets needed 30 points in the fourth set to put it away.

The Hornets have the second highest hitting percentage in the Big Sky at .247. They are third in conference in average assists per set with 12.49. They lead the conference in kills by a large margin with 837, Idaho State University is second with 725. They are also third in digs averaging 15.66 a set.

Lauren Kissell leads the team in kills with 233, which ranks fourth in conference. She also leads the team in hitting percentage at 305 which ranks seventh. She was also the Big Sky player of the week on Sept 21.

“Its been a long road for me as a player,” Kissell said of her start to the season. “Coming here, transferring and figuring myself out, putting myself on a new team but I think it’s coming together. I think I’ve found my place on the team, I think I’ve made moves and I’m really excited to see where it leads to.”

Kissell continues to lead the team in kills on a regular basis including 18 against Northern Arizona University Sept. 27 and 25 during the game before against Southern Utah University on Sept. 24.

Morgan Stanley leads the team in service aces averaging .38 a set, ranking seventh in conference.

Stanley has come alive offensively since the beginning of conference play with 10 kills against Southern Utah and 14 kills against Northern Arizona, which is the most she has put up in a single game all season. She 44 kills through the first 15 games but brought that number to 68 after last two matches.

“I thought [I] played aggressive,” said Stanley after the Northern Arizona match. “There were times when it was bad but I think I bettered the ball and kept us in the system.”

Lexie Skalbeck leads the team in digs averaging 4.72 a set which is third in the Big Sky. She had 24 digs against Northern Arizona, five shy of her season best, which came against Campbell University on Sept. 5. She has had double digit dig totals in every match except against Norfolk State University with nine.

One player who has been mentioned throughout the team is setter Kennedy Kurtz. She has 706 assists, which ranks third in the Big Sky. Conference play has seen her put up 106 assists in two games.

“I think it’s an improvement from last year definitely,” said Kurtz. “I think I have a lot to get better on, I have a lot to get better on everyday that I just keep working. So it’s a work in progress and I hope I can keep setting well so we can get more conference wins.”

The team sits atop the Big Sky Conference with their next opponent Idaho State in second with a record of 9-5. Their next four starts will be on the road starting with second place Idaho State (9-5) on Oct. 1, Weber State University (5-7) on Oct. 3, Eastern Washington University (7-6) on Oct. 8 and the University of Idaho (5-9) on Oct. 10.