Volleyball faces tough weekend

This weekend’s competition proved to be too much for the Portland State women’s volleyball team as they lost two more Big Sky Conference matches to drop its record to 4-8 overall and 1-6 in the league.

The Vikings opened up competition on Friday night when they hosted the Sacramento State Hornets. The Vikings were unable to make any headway and lost the match in three games.

Head coach Jeff Mozzochi decided to change things up by playing three of the red-shirt freshmen, and each of them had something to contribute.

Freshman setter Stephanie Lavigne, who filled in for injured setters Katie Kaysinger and Jeannie Robison, came up big with 30 assists, five digs and five kills to help spark the Vikings. Freshmen Lisa Thomas and Rachel Mogen also added a new element to the play of the Vikings.

Sophomore Richell Wilson once again led the Vikings with 10 kills and six digs. She was trailed closely by junior Kristina Thom who had nine kills and three digs, but it wasn’t enough to boost the Vikings into win mode.

The Vikings went down in game one 23-30 to the Hornets who showed some dominance in the second game, beating Portland State 30-16. The Vikings rallied back, but weren’t able to catch the 11-5 Hornets in the third game, which they ultimately lost 25-30.

Sacramento State was led by Tasman Dwyer, who recorded 14 total kills and two errors, finishing the night with a .600 hit-percentage. Jayme Wright provided the defense for the Hornets with 10 digs in the match. The Hornets scored from all directions. A total of five Sacramento State players had over five kills.

The Vikings tried to regroup for their match on Saturday night against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks. The Lumberjacks came into the game at 10-4 overall and 4-3 in Big Sky competition.

The Vikings were plagued by mistakes throughout the first game, which they lost 15-30. Game two wasn’t much better as Portland State went down 18-30.

The real story was game three. Portland State came out prepared for battle and led almost the entire game.

The Vikings’ offense came alive and proved to the Arizona Lumberjacks that they weren’t about to go down without a fight. The defense also came up with some good digs to keep the Lumberjack hitters at bay. Despite their last minute effort, the Vikings lost game three 28-30.

As in Friday night’s game, Mozzochi played all of his freshmen, but it wasn’t quite enough. Junior Stacy Ball came up big for the Vikings with 11 digs during the match, which helped motivate six other Vikings who recorded five or more digs.

The Portland State offense was once again led by Wilson and Thom, who had 15 and nine kills respectively.

Next weekend the Vikings will hit the road once more to take on Montana, who they beat at home, and Montana State, who the Vikings were unable to put away in their last meeting at the Peter Stott Center.

For Portland State, these next two games are crucial. Not only do they have playoff implications, but they might be the turnaround spark the Vikings have been looking for all season.