SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State stormed back from a two-set deficit and had a match point in the fifth set before falling to Portland State, 3-2 (25-21, 25-17, 18-25, 20-25, 16-14), in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Saturday evening at Colberg Court.
The fifth set was a grinder the entire way as neither team led by more than two points. In fact, the frame featured nine ties and five lead changes, and the Hornets used a 4-1 run to take a 14-13 lead and gain match point. However, Jaklyn Wheeler had one of her match-high 23 kills to tie the score at 14-14. From there, a Megan Ellis kill and a Hornet attack error ended the frame and match.
Sacramento State had a season-high 20.0 team blocks during the first four sets of the match, but failed to get a block in the decisive fifth set. After hitting .312 and .243 in games 3 and 4, respectively, Sacramento State hit just .080 while Portland State hit .200 in the fifth frame. Wheeler had four kills for the Vikings in the fifth set while the Hornets' had three kills.
With the loss, the Hornets dropped to 5-6 overall and 1-1 in the Big Sky while Portland State improved to 5-7 and 1-0. The Vikings beat the Hornets in Sacramento for just the second time in 19 tries dating back to 1990. Overall, Sacramento State is 36-19 all-time against Portland State.
In a match that lasted two hours and 19 minutes, it was Portland State that held an advantage over Sacramento State in kills (66-53), assists (66-51) and digs (105-82). However, the Vikings were limited to a .151 hitting percentage (the Hornets hit .176) and Sacramento State dominated at the net to the tune of 20.0 team blocks compared to the Vikings' 9.0 team blocks.
The Hornets, who were playing without starting outside hitter (lower leg injury), had three players finish with double figures in kills, comprised of Currey (16 kills, 16 digs and six blocks), (12 kills, two blocks) and rightside hitter (10 kills, five blocks). Aikels, who is a true freshman, replaced Genger in the starting lineup at outside hitter. Middle blocker received her most playing time of the season, appearing in all five sets and finishing with four kills, a .375 hitting percentage and 10 blocks. The 10 blocks were the most by a Sacramento State player this season.
Motes wasn't the only Hornet blocking balls. Five different Sacramento State players had at least five blocks, including (six blocks, two solos), Currey (six blocks, two solos), Beal (five blocks) and (five blocks, one solo). Libero posted team highs in digs (18) and aces (3) while setters (career-high 21) and (13) both had double figures in digs.
For Portland State, Wheeler's 23 kills accompanied 16 digs while Ellis finished with 13 kills and 17 digs, and Aubrey Mitchell had 15 kills. Viking libero Kasimira Clark was digging everything in sight, finishing with a robust 41 digs.
The Hornets now embark upon a season long four-match road trip, with all matches coming against Big Sky foes. The road trip begins next week with matchups on Thursday at Northern Arizona and Saturday against Southern Utah. Saturday's match will mark the first time in school history the Hornets will have faced Southern Utah.