Volleyball still in hunt for Big Sky Championship spot

This week the Vikings had the chance to move up in the Big Sky Conference rankings with pivotal games against Weber State and Idaho State.

It was anticipated that Thursday night’s match-up against Weber State would be a challenge for Portland State, which had previously lost nine straight games to the Wildcats. Thursday’s game made 10, as the Vikings fell to Weber State, 3-1 (30-24, 30-18, 24-30, 30-16).

Richell Wilson played a solid game for PSU, with 15 kills, 11 digs and three blocks. Katie Kost also led the team with 14 kills, two digs and two blocks. Stephanie Lavigne had 44 assists and 12 digs.

Several Wildcats helped seal the win. Kris Hollingsworth and Holly Monato each had 14 kills. Weber State standout Stephanie Kropushek turned in a double-double 15 kills and 12 digs, while Lindsay Beckstrand added another 17 digs.

The Vikings bounced back Saturday night in Pocatello, Idaho, with a huge win over the Idaho State Bengals.

PSU dominated the match, efficiently taking all three games (30-23, 30-23, 30-24). This competition was the tiebreaker for sixth place in the Big Sky Conference and the last spot in the upcoming championships.

Wilson once again led the Vikings with 10 kills and nine digs. Sophomore Lisa Thomas, who has recently stepped up to become a real presence for the Viks, had nine kills and a team-high nine blocks. Kristine Thom had 11 digs, and Lavigne helped out offensively with 24 assists.

Bengal Ali Gorny had 17 kills, while teammates Kellie DeHass and Felice Yocopis had 13 and 10 digs apiece.

In order for PSU to retain its sixth-place ranking and championship bid, the team has to win at least one of its remaining two games against either Northern Arizona University or Sacramento State. Idaho State’s only hope for a championship bid would be a win over Weber State in its season finale, if PSU loses both of its final games.

“This conference … comes down to who can mentally execute their game plan,” head coach Jeff Mozzochi told the Vanguard recently.

The Vikings are now 3-9 in BSC competitions, 9-12 overall. Eastern Washington, Sacramento State, Montana State and Weber State are currently the only teams with definite spots in the Big Sky Championships, which take place Nov. 21-23 at an as-yet-undecided location.

Next week, the Vikings will remain at home for games against Northern Arizona at 7 p.m. Friday and Sacramento State at 7 p.m. Saturday.