What a weekend it was for the Portland State volleyball team. It couldn’t have been scripted any better. The Vikings took care of business by beating Sacramento State on Friday, three games to two and Northern Arizona on Saturday night, three games to zero. Coming out of the weekend the Vikings possess a 12-5 overall record, which is best in the Big Sky and a conference mark of 2-2. These wins should propel the Viks into even greater contention for the Big Sky title.
When the Hornets and Vikings matched up on Friday night in the Stott Center it was hardly an ordinary match. The Vikings hadn’t been victors over the Hornets since 1996, which was a significant hurdle to overcome for a team ravaged by two heart-wrenching, wire-to-wire losses only days earlier. They succeeded in conquering several other obstacles with their win on Friday night, jumping out to a two game to zero lead and winning in the fifth frame. Prior to the win they had seven three-game wins; three four-game wins and zero five-game wins. The Vikings ended up prevailing in the first two frames, 33-31 and 30-26 respectively, and the final tie-breaking game 17-15.
“Beating Sacramento State was a really big step for us. It was also really important to win the first two games and end up winning in a five game match,” senior middle blocker Kaylene Munson said. “These were two very important things for our team to get out of the way.”
Portland State not only defeated the Hornets on the court, they trounced them on paper. PSU especially triumphed in the following categories: kills 75-65, assists 71-59 and digs 97-87.
The win over Sacramento State was definitely an emotional victory for the Viks but Northern Arizona proved to be a respectable opponent for the Vikings as well. It was a lot closer than the final score appeared, with PSU pulling out frames of 30-18, 30-27 and 30-21. The Lumberjacks competed during every game never allowing the Vikings to pull away and make it a blowout victory.
“We played very solid,” head coach Jeff Mozzochi said. “That is the trouble with back to back matches, you never know what to expect the following night. I think that we played with a lot of energy tonight. This was a big win.”
Notables for the night include Jessica Vanzant’s game high of 15 kills, Kaylene Munson with a game high .526 hitting percentage and PSU holding NAU to a cumulative hitting percentage of .132.
“I can’t complain; this was a very solid win, especially coming off an emotional win last night,” Mozzochi said.
Portland State came into the weekend apprehensive about their chances to claim the conference title, especially after losing to Idaho State and Weber State in unsettling fashion last weekend. After sweeping their Big Sky weekend opener they appear to have confidence and a little swagger in their step.
“Anything is possible,” sophomore middle blocker Michelle Robertson said when asked about their chances for a conference title. “If we play team volleyball we will be very successful.”