Volleyball team clinches spot in Big Sky Tournament

Elliot Jones

The Sacramento State volleyball team won its seventh straight match after its defeat of Weber State 3-1 Thursday. The Hornets record improved to 23-5 overall, 10-3 in Big Sky play and have clinched a spot in the Big Sky Conference Tournament with the win.

The serve was great for Sac State as they put up 15 aces, which tied the school record. The previous record was set on Sept. 8, 2007 against Manhattan College. Middle blocker Madeline Cannon led team with five aces, and had a .421 hitting percentage and 11 kills.

“She’s been playing great lately,” said coach Ruben Volta. “She’s just so fast and such a fast arm swing and good vision to block. She’s been attacking really well all season.”

Lauren Kissell had a slow start to the evening with six kills, five errors and a hitting percentage of .059 after the first two sets. The third and fourth sets saw her put up 12 kills and only two errors while raising her hitting percentage to .268 to end the match.

Kissell remains the only player to be in the top 10 in both kills and hitting percentage in the Big Sky. She was also named the Big Sky Player of the Week for the third time this season on Monday.

Setter Kennedy Kurtz recorded her third-straight double-double with 40 assists and 10 digs. She leads the Big Sky with 11.4 assists per set.

It was volleyball alumni appreciation night at the Hornets Nest and in attendance was former setter Maureen Rafferty, who’s arguably the greatest setter Sac State has ever had. From 1996 through 1999, she had a career 6,510 assists, which is a program best.

“She’s doing an excellent job,” Rafferty said of Kurtz. “She makes really good choices on the attacks that she’s running. She has really good hands when she’s jump setting and she puts up a really nice block.”

Former Sac State coach Debbie Colberg was in attendance to witness the Hornets pick up their 23rd win of the season. The 23 wins is the most the Hornets have had since her final year as coach in 2007, who had 29.

“This team can play with anybody,” Colberg said. “They’ve got the power at the net. If they keep their errors down and control the serve they’ll do very well.”

The Hornets remain in third place with three matches left in the regular season. The team’s next two matches will be against second-place Idaho State at home on Saturday and first-place Northern Arizona on the road on Thursday, Nov. 12.