Volleyball team loses to Northern Arizona

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Elliot Jones

The Sacramento State volleyball team had its eight-game winning streak snapped by Northern Arizona Lumberjacks 3-1 on the road on Thursday.

Northern Arizona is conference championship for the first time ever in program history. The Lumberjacks will host the Big Sky Conference Tournament taking place Nov. 19-21. The loss dropped Sac State (24-4 overall, 11-4 Big Sky) into third place in the Big Sky Conference South Division, behind Northern Arizona (24-4 overall, 14-1 Big Sky) and Idaho State University (20-9 overall, 12-3 Big Sky).

The match was hard fought by the Hornets, who had two of their outside hitters get over 20 kills. Lauren Kissell led the team with 22 kills, which is the seventh time she has had over 20 in a match this season. Kissell ended the night with a hitting percentage of .262 and one service ace.

Sloan Lovett, who had a season best .419 hitting percentage in her last match against Idaho State, put up another season best 21 kills against the Lumberjacks. She ended her night with a hitting percentage of .264.

“Both of them were very aggressive,” said Sac State coach Ruben Volta. “I was really proud of the way they played.”

The Hornets struggled offensively as a team ending the match with a .199 hitting percentage and committed 24 errors. The Hornets didn’t have a single person hit over .300 on the night and had only four players with a hitting percentage that wasn’t zero.

Sac State got off to a very slow start to the match going down 13-1 to begin the first set. The Lumberjacks had a .325 hitting percentage with only one error as they blew past the Hornets winning 25-17. Sac State was out of sync in the set with six errors and a hitting percentage of .109.

The Hornets played better in the second set hitting .286 as a team and won 25-18. The third and fourth set would go to the Lumberjacks, who remain undefeated on the season at home against conference opponents. Northern Arizona outside hitter Janae Vander Ploeg delivered the final kill in the fourth set to end her night with a total of 20.

Sac State has one match remaining in the regular season at Southern Utah (15-13 overall, 6-9 in Big Sky) on Saturday Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. A win against Southern Utah and a loss from Idaho State would move Sac State back into second place in the South Division. The Hornets beat Southern Utah at home earlier this season, but it took all five sets to do so.

Sac State is guaranteed the fourth seed at the Big Sky Tournament win or lose on Saturday, but can potentially move up to the three seed with a win and an Idaho State loss.