Volleyball in Big Sky Championship

With a huge win over Northern Arizona’s volleyball team on Friday, the Vikings secured a sixth-place seed in the Big Sky Championship Tournament. Unfortunately, Portland State faltered on Saturday with a loss to Sacramento State.

Friday’s win over Northern Arizona was especially impressive in light of the Vikings’ 3-0 loss to the Lumberjacks earlier this season. This time, the teams would battle it out, matching each other’s scores game by game, until PSU came away with the 3-2 victory (28-30, 30-28, 28-30, 30-28, 15-13).

The Vikings really pulled together on Friday night, showing the home crowd of 243 fans what they are capable of when several players turned in solid performances.

Richell Wilson led the team with an outstanding 30 kills and 23 digs, while Kathy Garbacz had 20 kills. Katie Kost added another 17 kills, and Lisa Thomas had 10. Kristina Thom was effective defensively with 21 digs, while Kristin Ratzlaff and Stacey Ball had 14 and 13 digs, respectively, in the match. Stephanie Lavigne was also a major presence in the game, with 16 digs and a season-high 69 assists.

Team leaders on the Lumberjack squad included Corey Machesky and Ellie Butterfield, with 25 and 21 kills apiece. Chelsea Robb had 23 digs, while Megan Van Anda ended the game with 19.

Northern Arizona, though guaranteed a spot at the Big Sky Championships, dropped to 5-8 in conference play with the loss. The victory made history for the Viking program, earning them their first-ever trip to the tournament.

“I’m extremely proud of our team,” head coach Jeff Mozzochi stated in a press release.

The pressure was less intense on Saturday when the Vikings faced Sacramento State at the Peter Stott Center. The Hornets defeated PSU 3-1 in a previous match-up this season and they have earned the second seed in the championships with a conference record of 11-3. They lived up to that ranking Saturday, handing the Vikings a 3-0 loss in their last regular-season game (30-18, 30-23, 30-22).

In her last Viking home game, senior Kost led the team offensively with 12 kills. Garbacz and Wilson had 11 and 8 kills, while Thom led the defense with 12 digs. Lavigne had 35 assists.

Sandra Bandimere led Hornet scorers with 13 kills. Jayme Wright turned in a double-double 12 kills and 11 digs, as did Kazmiera Imrie with 11 kills and 11 digs. Lisa Beauchene had 10 kills and 44 assists in the game.

The Vikings end their season with a conference record of 4-10, and a 10-13 record overall. Next up, PSU will head to tournament host Eastern Washington University to face Montana State in the first round of the Big Sky Championships on November 21-23.