MORAGA, Calif. -- Sacramento State opened its second season of sand volleyball on Wednesday evening, falling to host Saint Mary's, 5-0, at the Moraga Commons.
The Gaels, who were also playing their season opener, are currently ranked 10th in the nation in the AVCA Sand Volleyball poll, and finished the fall indoor season with an 18-9 record.
Sand volleyball was added as Sacramento State's 21st sport last spring, and today marked just the program's ninth match in school history. The Hornets are fielding a squad that returns just five players from a season ago, and three of the five doubles teams used in today's match were new.
Saint Mary's was able to win four of the five matches in straight sets in a best of three format. The Hornets' tandem of freshmen Morgan Stanley and Madeline Cannon took their match at No. 3 to three sets but fell to Sarah Reams and Rachel Gillcrist by a 23-25, 21-15, 15-11 score. The score was tied at 10-10 in the third set before Reams/Gillcrist closed the match on a 5-1 run.
Other scores saw Katie Aprile and Kayla Beal fall at No. 1 (21-15, 21-5), Sloan Lovett and Lauren Aikels at No. 2 (21-8, 21-14), Lexie Skalbeck and Chelcy Motes at No. 4 (21-10, 21-12), and Courtney Dietrich and Kendall LaVine at No. 5 (21-11, 21-18). Only Aprile, Beal, Lovett, Aikels and Motes return from a season ago. Despite both players being middle blockers, Dietrich and LaVine put up a fight before falling at No. 5.
"I was really happy with the way our players competed today," Sacramento State co-head coach Jason Borchin said. "Our new players did a nice job of managing the game and their emotions, and its going to be a learning process for them. We have two weeks of practice before our next match, and we will work on fine tuning some areas where we can get better.
"Every one of our doubles teams battled hard, but Saint Mary's is a very good program and while we played well at times, we couldn't sustain that for the entire match."
The Hornets do not play again until hosting a three-day tournament that will see the team play five times from April 4-6. Sacramento State plays both Cal Poly (3 p.m.) and San Francisco (6 p.m.) on April 4.
1. Sam Tinsley / Jordan Shaw (SMC) def. Kayla Beal / Katie Aprile (SAC), 21-15, 21-5
2. Kristina Graven / Natalie Loos (SMC) def. Sloan Lovett / Lauren Aikels (SAC), 21-8, 21-14
3. Sarah Reams / Rachel Gillcrist (SMC) def. Morgan Stanley / Madeline Cannon (SAC), 23-25, 21-15, 15-11
4. Mileva Popovic / Alexis Salmons (SMC) def. Lexie Skalbeck / Chelcy Motes (SAC), 21-10, 21-12
5. Milena Popovic / Maegan Conroy (SMC) def. Courtney Dietrich / Kendall LaVine (SAC), 21-11, 21-18
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