Game-five jive

    The Portland State volleyball team defeated Northern Colorado on Saturday in a 3-2 match at the Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion in Greeley, Colorado.

    A deciding fifth game in the match was a rare occurrence for the Vikings, having played the full five games only twice in 22 previous contests. The win also marked the second consecutive win in a five-game match, with their most recent one coming last Thursday at Northern Arizona on the same road trip. Winning that game 3-2 as well as Saturday’s game put the Vikings to 17-2 overall and 13-2 in the Big Sky.

    ”Having the team in that kind of situation – a long match in a tense situation – I think it’s really good for us,” said head coach Jeff Mozzochi. “I think it’s great to come out with a win, but I think we also learned a little about ourselves.”

     Portland State jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the match, pulling away from Northern Colorado late in the sets. The Vikings were close to sweeping the contest, pulling ahead 12-5 early in game three. Northern Colorado rallied to tie the game at 24, then closed out the set with a 10-3 run, securing the win.

    Northern Colorado carried the momentum from their game-three comeback win into game four as well, winning the set 30-26 and tying the match at two games apiece.

    The Vikings opened the deciding fifth match by building a 10-5 lead. Northern Colorado, refusing to go quietly, closed to within a point at 12-11. After that, a Jessica Frederick kill, and a Jessica Brodie block secured the game for Portland State, 15-11, and the victory in the match, three games to two.

    ”At this point in the season, every win is huge. We haven’t played that many five-game matches this year,” said Mozzochi.

    The standout player of the game was Vikings senior outside hitter Jessica Brodie, who led all players with 24 kills and 24 digs.

    ”Obviously, the numbers kind of speak for themselves a little bit. I think a lot of people focus on her offensive game, but defensively she was tremendous. She was all over the court making great athletic plays,” Mozzochi said of Brodie’s performance.

    Jessica Frederick, senior outside hitter, recorded 18 kills for the Vikings, which tied her season high. In the match, Portland State had a .290 team hitting percentage, which was well above their opponents’ .200 clip.

    The Vikings concluded their regular season road schedule with the trip to Colorado, and return home to wrap up their season with games against Montana and Montana State next weekend. Portland State has already defeated both teams in their only meetings this season, and look to remain sharp heading towards the playoffs.

    This week the Vikings clinched a playoff spot as the number two seed behind Sacramento State. If Sac State loses their next two games and the Vikings win out then they would be crowned the regular season champs and play host to the Big Sky championship. However, as of now the Big Sky tournament is scheduled in Sacramento, with the Hornets holding a 26-5 overall and 13-1 Big Sky record. The Hornets’ only Big Sky loss came from the Vikings, and the series on the season is tied 1-1, with each team winning at home.