Volleyball's big weekend ends in frustration in Portland
PORTLAND, Ore. -- This is definitely not how Northern Colorado volleyball envisioned this weekend going.
The Bears hit just .101 as a team Saturday night against Portland State and allowed the Vikings to hit .311 in falling 3-0 (26-24, 25-15, 25-8) to Portland State at the Stott Center in their final regular-season road match of the season.
It was the second straight night Northern Colorado fell in three games, as it fell 3-0 to Eastern Washington on Friday night in Cheney, Wash., too.
The Bears (18-11, 11-4 Big Sky) had a chance with victories in these two matches to win the first Big Sky Conference team championship of any kind for Northern Colorado, but it was the Vikings (19-7, 13-2) who claimed the conference crown with Saturday's decisive victory.
Portland State won last year's Big Sky postseason tournament and represented the league in the NCAA Tournament.
"We've just got to move on now from this weekend," Northern Colorado coach Lyndsey Benson said. "We obviously wanted to have a better outcome going back home, but we can't change the fact of what happened. We still have work left to do and we've now got a big week ahead of us in practice."
With such a grand opportunity in front of them, the Bears picked a bad time Saturday night to turn in one of the worst hitting performance of their season. Northern Colorado had just 25 kills in its 99 swings in the loss and surrendered 47 kills in 106 attacks to Portland State, who also added 10 service aces.
The Bears' hit .075 earlier this year in a loss to the nationally-ranked Iowa State Cyclones and .103 in a home loss to Miami (Fla.) in their own Hampton Inn & Suites Northern Colorado Classic.
Senior Kenzie Shreeve led the Bears with nine kills (.162) against the Vikings, senior Taylor Smith added seven (.385) and senior Allison Raguse had six (.167). No other Northern Colorado player had more than Breanna Williams' two kills.
Defensively, Breanna VanDerMost finished with a team-high 14 digs, and every player who saw the floor for Northern Colorado had at least one dig.