Nov. 12, 2011
With tournament hopes on the line for both teams, Sacramento State dominated the Montana volleyball team Saturday afternoon at Sacramento, Calif., 25-17, 25-19, 25-16.
The win secured a spot in the four-team Big Sky Conference tournament for the Hornets while ending the Grizzlies' postseason plans.
Even with a full schedule of league matches next weekend, the tournament field has been locked in: Northern Colorado (18-8, 11-3 BSC), Portland State (15-12, 10-4 BSC), Eastern Washington (13-12, 9-5 BSC) and Sacramento State (16-13, 9-5 BSC) will all meet at Portland, Ore., in two weekends.
Montana (9-13, 6-8 BSC) will miss the Big Sky tournament for just the second time in coach Jerry Wagner's six seasons.
In a match the Grizzlies needed to win to stay alive in the chase for the tournament, it was Sacramento State that raced out to a 6-0 lead in the opening set. The Hornets never trailed in the first and third sets and outscored Montana 16-4 to rally back from a 15-9 deficit in set two.
"Sacramento State was much more determined to make the tournament than we were to keep our tournament hopes alive," UM coach Jerry Wagner said, using a single declarative sentence and an economy of words to summarize the match.
Sacramento State hit .286, had 13 more kills and 17 more digs than Montana, and out-blocked the team that had 17 blocks in the teams' first meeting - a 3-1 Montana victory - last month in Missoula.
Eryn Kirby had 15 kills on .344 hitting and 13 digs, Kelsey Elston had nine kills on .389 hitting and four blocks, and Anna Schoener hit .833 and finished with four blocks.
All were seniors playing their final home match.
"It was Senior Day, and they have five seniors who start, so we were up against it from the start," Wagner said.
Montana hit .109 and totaled just 31 kills. Both totals were season lows for the Grizzlies during Big Sky play.
Montana will conclude its season next weekend with home matches against Idaho State and Weber State.
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