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Women's Volleyball

 

VOLLEYBALL LETS FOURTH-SET LEAD SLIP AWAY IN 3-1 LOSS AT MONTANA

MISSOULA, Mont. -- Montana's Kayla Reno had a match-high 17 kills, and Brooke Bray added 14 kills and a match-best .565 hitting percentage to lead the Grizzlies to a 3-1 victory (25-20, 25-16, 20-25, 25-22) over Sacramento State in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Friday evening at West Auxiliary Gym.

After dropping the first two sets, Sacramento State won the third frame and seemed poised to send the match to a fifth set after taking a commanding 22-17 lead in fourth. However, Montana racked up eight straight points to close the set and match. During the 8-0 run, the Grizzlies received kills from four different players and took advantage of four Hornet attack errors, two of which occurred on combo blocks from the tandem of Natalie Jones and Kelsey Schile.

The Hornets have now dropped nine of their last 11 sets that were decided by three points or less.

Sacramento State (6-12, 2-7) fell to 0-5 on the road against Big Sky teams this year. The Hornets have kept the score close in four of those five losses, but have fallen short of victory each time. Tonight was the first of a season-long five-match road trip that will see the team return to action tomorrow evening at Montana State.

With the victory, the Grizzlies snapped a four-game losing streak while improving to 4-14 overall and 2-7 in the Big Sky. In addition, Montana has now won each of the last five matchups against the Hornets in Missoula.

Sacramento State welcomed back outside hitter Jessie Genger, who had missed the previous seven matches with a lower leg injury. The senior finished with a team-best 16 kills, but it was not enough as Montana finished with more kills (55-50), digs (77-66), team blocks (13.0-11.0) and had a substantially higher hitting percentage (.224-.124) than Sacramento State.

Joining Genger with double figures in kills for the Hornets were Janelle Currey (10 kills, three aces and 16 digs) and Kayla Beal (10 kills, nine digs and four blocks). Two of those aces for Currey came on back-to-back points to give the Hornets a 24-20 lead in the third set. For Beal, it marked the ninth consecutive match in which the rightside hitter posted at least nine kills.

Ashley Newcomb led the Hornets with seven blocks, and has combined for 33 stuffs over the last four matches. Olivia Moss had six kills and four blocks, Sydney Kordic had two aces and a team-high 20 digs, and Katelyn Ivy added seven digs. Rightside hitter Kiley Mansfield suffered a knee injury in the second set and did not return.

For Montana, four of Reno's 17 kills came during the fourth set. Bray's .565 hitting percentage was easily a match high as she had just one error in 23 total attacks. Megan Murphy added a match-best 24 digs and Jones finished with nine blocks.

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