The top four seeds all moved on Thursday in Day 1 action at the Big Sky Championships. Regular season champion Sacramento State, No. 2 seed North Dakota, No. 3 Idaho and No. 4 Portland State are all on to Friday’s semifinals.
Day 1 Scores
No. 2 North Dakota def. No. 7 Weber State 3-1 (25-17, 23-25, 25-19, 29-27)
No. 3 Idaho def. No. 6 Idaho State 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-23)
No. 4 Portland State def. No. 5 Northern Arizona 3-1 (13-25, 25-16, 25-13, 26-24)
No. 1 Sacramento State def. No. 8 Northern Colorado 3-1 (21-25, 25-14, 25-16, 27-25)
North Dakota 3, Weber State 1
- North Dakota moves to 28-7 and advances to Friday’s semfinals; Weber State ends the season at 9-20
- Box Score
- North Dakota Recap / Weber State Recap
Key Stats: Sixteen blocks, including nine by senior middle Faith Dooley, lifted UND to the victory. Four aces and an efficient hitting night aided the Fighting Hawk effort. UND bookended the night with a .412 and .320 hitting performance. Weber State hit .312 in its Set 2 victory.
Key Players: Dooley notched nine blocks to push her career tally to 661, making her the Big Sky’s all-time blocking leader, surpassing Brittany Basaillon (Weber State, 2005-08)’s record of 657. Dooley also added 11 kills. Junior middle Jordan Vail and sophomore right side Ashley Bruggeman paced the team offensively with 13 kills apiece. Senior setter Sydney Griffin just missed a triple double, turning in 44 assists, 10 digs and eight kills. Senior outside Teodora Tepavac notched a match-high 19 digs to lead a group of four Hawks player with double-digit efforts.
Junior outside Andrea Hale downed a match-high 24 kills and hit .296, while senior outside Amanda Varley (15K, 13D) and sophomore outside Megan Gneiting (12K, 12D) turned in double-doubles. Sophomore middle Hannah Hill put up six blocks, while senior libero Thamires Cavalcanti accounted for 17 digs.
It Was Over When: In a final set that featured 18 ties, the match came down to the wire. It took five set-point tries for the Fighting Hawks to finally clinch the win. A stuff by Dooley and Griffin gave UND its first try at 24-23. Dooley and Julia Kaczorowska added kills and another Dooley stuff made it 27-26. Hale registered one final kill to knot it at 27, before a Tamara Merseli kill and a block by Vail and Griffin sealed the victory.
Next Up: North Dakota moves on to play No. 3 seed Idaho at 7:35 p.m. ET in Friday’s semifinals.
Idaho 3, Idaho State 0
- Idaho moves to 18-10, advances to Friday’s semifinals; Idaho State falls to 11-19
- Box Score
- Idaho Recap / Idaho State Recap
Key Stats: The Vandals hit at a .429 clip in the match, while also outdoing the Bengals in kills (44-38), aces (6-5) and blocks (7-2). Idaho hit .370 or better in all three sets, including a .519 effort in Set 1.
Key Players: Junior outside Sarah Sharp led the way for Idaho with 17 kills, while hitting at a .361 clip. Junior outside Kaela Straw added nine putaways, while hitting .474. Junior outside Reece Carman notched seven kills and a team-best four blocks. Senior defensive specialist Klaree Hobart served up four aces and junior libero Alycia Wodke led the backcourt with 18 digs.
Redshirt senior outside Chloe Hirst and junior outside Abby Garrity turned in double-digit kill efforts for ISU with 11 and 10 respectively. Redshirt sophomore middle Brooke Pehrson added eight kills, while hitting at a .636 clip and notching a team-high two blocks. Sophomore libero Haylie Keck pulled up 15 digs and added two of the team’s five aces.
It Was Over When: Idaho State did not go quietly in Set 3, taking a late 20-17 lead with an midset run. Hirst notched three straight kills and the Vandals helped with a service error to make it 20-17. Idaho responded with an 8-3 run of its own to close out the set. After a tie at 22, Idaho scored three of the final four, two on Sharp kills and one by Carman.
Next Up: Idaho moves on to play No. 2 seed North Dakota at 7:35 p.m. ET in Friday’s semifinals.
Portland State 3, Northern Arizona 1
- Portland State moves to 21-8 and advances to the semifinals; NAU ends its season at 13-15
- Box Score
- Portland State Recap / Northern Arizona Recap
Key Stats: Northern Arizona served up 13 aces, including eight in a 25-13 opening set win. Portland State won the remained of the statistical categories, 56-41 in kills, .237 to .172 in hitting efficiency and 10-7 in blocks.
Key Players: Sophomore outsides Caitlin Bettenay and Toni McDougald led the Viking charge, each notching a double-double. Bettenay turned in 16 kills, 14 digs and three aces, while McDougald notched 15 kills and 14 digs. Junior middle Mikaelyn Sych put up a team-best seven blocks to go with seven kills. Senior libero Tasha Bojanic recorded a match-high 24 saves to lead the PSU defense.
Sophomore middle Abby Akin was the lone Portland State player in double-digits, tallying 11 kills on an errorless .440 hitting effort and adding a team-best four blocks and three aces, but it was not enough. Sophomore outside Sydney Lema added seven kills, 11 digs and four aces, while redshirt junior outside Kaylie Jorgenson notched eight kills, three aces and 19 digs. Junior libero Jordan Anderson led a group of four players with double-digit digs, notching 20 saves.
It Was Over When: Although Portland State jumped out to an 8-1 lead to start Set 4, the stanza was far from over. NAU rallied to take the lead at 19-18. An ace and a block by Parker Webb led a 4-0 Viking rally to make it 22-19, but again the Lumberjacks surged to tie it at 22 and 23 and hold off a match-point try at 24-23. Heaven Harris kept NAU in the game with a kill, but Bettenay and Sych came through with the final two putaways for PSU.
Next Up: Portland State moves on to face No. 1 seed Sacramento State at 10:05 p.m. ET Friday in the second semifinal match.
Sacramento State 3, Northern Colorado 1
- Sacramento State moves to 25-8 and advances to the semifinals; Northern Colorado ends its season at 14-16
- Box Score
- Sacramento State Recap / Northern Colorado Recap
Key Stats: Sac State used 11 aces and nine blocks to move past Northern Colorado. The Bears managed one more kill (51-50), but the Hornets outhit them .240 to .139 and outdid them 11-3 in aces and 9-6 in blocks.
Key Players: Senior outside Shannon Boyle notched a match-high 16 kills and added 15 digs and an ace to lead the way for Sac State. Junior outside Mikaela Nocetti followed with 14 kills, nine digs and three blocks. Junior middle Lana Brown led the team at the net with four stuffs, while junior libero Skyler Takeda paced a group of four double-digit diggers with 16. Junior middle Brie Gathright served up four of the team’s 11 aces.
UNC boasted a balanced offensive attack with four players reaching double-digits led by redshirt junior middle Emily O’Neil and senior middle Alex Kloehn, who downed 13 kills apiece. O’Neil hit at a team-leading .400 clip, while Kloehn added a team-best four blocks. Sophomore libero Taylor Els pulled up a match-best 26 digs. Junior outside Kortney Lockey followed with 17 digs to go with 12 kills and two blocks.
It Was Over When: UNC grabbed a 23-18 lead in Set 4 after a 9-2 run, including seven straight points to start. Kloehn notched two kills and a block and three others turned in kills to put the Bears up five. Sac State countered with a 6-0 run of its own, including three UNC miscues, which made it 24-23 Hornets. Northern Colorado had the first set point try at 25-24. A Boyle kill thwarted that, then an ace by Kennedy Kurtz and a Bear hitting miscue stole away the win and the match.
Next Up: Sacramento State moves on to play Portland State at 10:05 p.m. ET Friday in the second semifinal match.