FRESNO, Calif. -- Sacramento State overcame a 13-8 deficit in the fifth set by running off seven straight points, including three service aces by middle blocker , to defeat host Fresno State, 3-2 (18-25, 28-26, 25-23, 15-25, 15-13), in the first round of the Fresno State Volleyball Classic Friday evening at the Save Mart Center.
In a match which lasted nearly two and a half hours and concluded well after 10 p.m., it was the Hornets that gutted out a victory despite Fresno State (4-3) owning big advantages in kills (71-52), hitting percentage (.215-.149) and digs (115-83). In fact, Sacramento State saved four set points before winning the second set, broke a 22-22 tie by scoring three of the final four points in the third frame, and completed an improbable 7-0 run to conclude the fifth set.
With the win, Sacramento State has now won four of its last five matches, and improved to 4-3 overall and 1-0 at the two-day tournament. The Hornets conclude the tournament tomorrow with matches against Utah Valley (10 a.m.) and rival UC Davis (5 p.m.). The contest with UC Davis will count towards the Causeway Cup, which is the annual all-sports competition between the two schools.
Things were not looking good in the fifth and decisive set after a failed set attempt gave Fresno State a 13-8 lead. However, it was all Sacramento State from there. The run began with back-to-back Fresno State attack errors, and was followed by a string of three straight aces from Newcomb who literally served the Bulldogs off the court. After the third ace, the Hornets and Bulldogs were locked in a 13-13 tie. A kill from rightside hitter (who was playing her first career match for the Hornets) gave Sacramento State a 14-13 lead and was followed by a combo block from Mansfield and middle blocker to end the match.
Mansfield missed the Hornets' first six contests of the season with a shoulder injury, and returned to action tonight in a big way. The sophomore transfer from New Mexico State finished with eight kills, three blocks and a team-best .438 hitting percentage (8-1-16). It was also Mansfield who teamed with Newcomb on a combo block that ended the 28-26 victorious third frame. Other late clutch plays came from outside hitter , who had one of her team-high 17 kills at 24-23 in the third set to deliver the win.
"Tonight's victory was a good way to start the tournament," Sacramento State head coach said. "In each of the sets we won, we were able to play strong defense, block well, serve tough and kept a lot of balls alive on the defensive end. I was really happy with the way the team responded when our backs were against the wall in the fifth set."
Currey was the only Hornet with more than eight kills as the team co-captain finished with 17, three shy of her season high. She also had 13 digs for her 51st career double-double. Moss, who is second in the Big Sky Conference in blocks, matched her season high with eight blocks while chipped in six stuffs and Newcomb had four. The Hornets had 15.0 team blocks compared to just 7.0 for Fresno State.
Beal, Mansfield and outside hitter each had eight kills, while Genger also finished with a career-high 17 digs. Setter finished with a double-double (35 assists and 10 digs), and Newcomb (3) and Genger (3) combined for six of the Hornets' eight aces. Libero had 28 digs, easily a season best and two shy of her career high.
For Fresno State, Korrin Wild led all players with 26 kills, but was limited to a .186 hitting percentage which included 13 attack errors. Five Bulldogs had double figures in digs, including a match-best 34 from Christina Lee.
NOTES - Volta sporadically ran a 6-2 offense during the match as finished with six assists…tonight marked the first time all season Sacramento State played a five-set match…three of the last four contests against Fresno State have resulted in a five-set affair with the Hornets coming out on top of two of those occasions…Fresno State's tournament home page can be found by clicking here.