PHILADELPHIA -- Sophomore Sloan Lovett had a career-high 21 kills to go along with a match-best .395 hitting percentage (21-4-43) to help lead Sacramento State to a 3-1 victory (25-11, 30-32, 25-22, 25-16) over host La Salle in the third round of the La Salle Volleyball Invitational Sunday morning at Tom Gola Arena.
Despite the 6 a.m. PDT start time, the Hornets finished the match hitting .333 while limiting La Salle to a .072 mark. Joining Lovett with double figures in kills for Sacramento State were freshman Morgan Stanley (13, .379 hit%) and senior Kayla Beal (14 kills, .312 hit%), and both of those players also hit for high percentages. Stanley and Beal tallied double-doubles with 13 and 10 digs, respectively.
With the victory, Sacramento State improved to 3-0 at the season-opening tournament with one match still to play later today against Fairleigh Dickinson at 1 p.m. PDT. The Hornets knocked off both Bucknell (3-2) and Lafayette (3-0) yesterday during the first day of the tournament.
The victory also gave the Hornets three wins to start the season for the first time since the 2007 season. Should Sacramento State win later today, the team would not only win the La Salle Invitational title, but would also start the year 4-0 for the first time since 1995. That 1995 squad finished the season with a 35-4 record.
For Lovett, the 21 kills eclipsed her previous career high of 15, set yesterday against Bucknell. She is now averaging a team-high 3.83 kills per set to go along with a .314 hitting percentage. Stanley has committed just four attack errors in 81 swings this season, good for a team-high .370 hitting percentage.
Libero Katie Aprile had a match and career-high 22 digs, setter Hannah Hettinga tallied 53 assists, eight digs, three kills and a .600 hitting percentage, and freshman middle blocker Courtney Dietrich had five kills and a match-high six blocks. Beal added five blocks and Sacramento State finished with a season-best 9.0 team blocks.
In the second set, the Hornets had three set points at 24-23, 25-24 and 26-25, but could not convert and La Salle (1-2) eventually won the frame. In the third set, with the score tied at 20-20, Sacramento State closed on a 5-2 run that, fittingly, concluded with a Lovett kill to end the set. Neither the first or fourth sets were ever close as the Hornets won both handily.
Sacramento State won the match despite 14 service errors, while getting aced by La Salle on 10 occasions. The Hornets dominated statistically with more kills (62-39), assists (60-35), digs (66-51) and team blocks (9.0-6.0) than La Salle.