PHILADELPHIA -- Senior Kayla Beal had a double-double (10 kills, 10 digs), sophomore Sloan Lovett added a match-high 11 kills and freshman Lexie Skalbeck posted match highs in aces (3) and digs (21) to help Sacramento State to a three-set sweep, 25-15, 25-16, 25-20, of Fairleigh Dickinson in the fourth and final round of the La Salle Volleyball Invitational Sunday afternoon at Tom Gola Arena.
With this afternoon's win, Sacramento State completes the season-opening tournament with a perfect 4-0 record and is crowned La Salle Invitational champions. In fact, the Hornets' 4-0 record is the program's best mark since the 1995 squad accomplished the feat. That 1995 team went on to post a 35-4 record.
Sacramento State played four matches over two days, including an 8 a.m. PDT start on Saturday against Bucknell, and a 6 a.m. PDT start this morning against tournament host La Salle. The Hornets knocked off Bucknell (3-2), Lafayette (3-0), La Salle (3-1) and Fairleigh Dickinson (3-0) in succession.
"I thought we played well all tournament, and really turned it up a notch defensively in this afternoon's match," Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. "The team just kept getting better and better as the tournament progressed, and I was pleased with every area of our game except serving (46 service errors in four matches)."
The La Salle Invitational's all-tournament team is made up of just one player from each team, and the Hornets' all-tournament selection was Lovett, who was dominant all weekend. The Durango, Colo., native posted double figures in kills in all four matches, led the team in kills in each of the last three matches, and averaged 4.07 kills and 2.43 digs per set while hitting .318. She added a team-high five aces as well.
"Sloan has improved a ton since last year, and she played great all weekend," Volta said. "She is attacking aggressively, and I'm very excited about watching her continue to progress the rest of the year."
Lovett wasn't the only player that excelled in the tournament. Beal averaged 3.47 kills per set with a .284 hitting percentage, freshman Morgan Stanley averaged 3.15 kills per set with a .318 hitting percentage, and both senior Katie Aprile (4.08 dps) and Skalbeck (3.08 dps) averaged better than three digs per set during the tournament. Setter Hannah Hettinga averaged a robust 12.20 assists per set, and each of the three middles (Chelcy Motes, Courtney Dietrich and Kendall LaVine) hit at least .320 during the tournament.
One of the more encouraging aspects of the tournament was the play of Sacramento State freshmen Stanley, Dietrich, Skalbeck and LaVine. All four players received plenty of time on the floor, as Stanley started all four matches and is a six-rotation outside hitter, Dietrich (3) and LaVine (1) both started matches at middle blocker, and Skalbeck posted 21 digs today in her first start of the season at libero.
"Between Morgan, Courtney, Lexie and Kendall, I thought all four freshmen played well," Volta said. "Morgan has such a nice demeanor and nothing rattles her on the floor. She is a smart player and understands the game of volleyball. Both our freshmen middles (Courtney and Kendall) attacked well, and continue to improve while getting adjusted to a blocking system that is new to them. Obviously, Lexie was really good defensively, dug a lot of tough balls, and did a nice job reading the court."
In this afternoon's win over Fairleigh Dickinson (0-4), the Hornets never trailed during the first two sets, and used a 9-0 run in the third frame to turn an 11-6 deficit into a 15-11 lead. Skalbeck served eight of those points, including three aces during the run.
The Hornets hit .298 as a team, and have now hit at least that high of a percentage in three straight matches. Sacramento State had 19 more kills (49-30) and seven more aces (7-0) than the Knights in a match that lasted just one hour and 11 minutes.
The Hornets return to action next week when they host the 11th-annual Sacramento State Invitational at Colberg Court. The two-day, four-team tournament, which takes place Friday and Saturday, Sept. 6-7, will feature six matches. Each team will play three times, as the Hornets play Friday against San Jose State, and Saturday vs. both Central Connecticut and Cal Poly. For complete tournament information, including schedule and ticket prices, please click here.
April 8, 2014 VOLLEYBALL RELEASES ITS 2014 SCHEDULE
January 27, 2014 SACRAMENTO STATE EARNS 22 FALL BIG SKY ALL-ACADEMIC HONORS
January 24, 2014 VOLLEYBALL ADDS DIV. I TRANSFER AND LOCAL PRODUCT MADELINE CANNON
November 30, 2013 VOLLEYBALL'S HOME WINNING STREAK NAMED BIG SKY'S 16TH GREATEST MOMENT
November 28, 2013 VOLLEYBALL’S BEAL NAMED SECOND TEAM ALL-BIG SKY
November 23, 2013 VOLLEYBALL LOSES IN FIVE, ELIMINATED FROM BIG SKY TOURNAMENT CONTENTION
November 21, 2013 VOLLEYBALL ONE STEP CLOSER TO PLAYOFF SPOT AFTER WIN AT MONTANA STATE
November 20, 2013 VOLLEYBALL LOOKS TO GRAB PLAYOFF SPOT IN FINAL WEEK OF REGULAR SEASON
November 18, 2013 VOLLEYBALL SIGNS BOYLE, BROWN AND KURTZ TO LETTERS OF INTENT
November 16, 2013 VOLLEYBALL PICKS UP HUGE WIN, CRUSHES WEBER STATE
November 15, 2013 VOLLEYBALL FALLS TO IDAHO STATE, WILL PLAY HOME FINALE TOMORROW
November 14, 2013 FORMER HORNET LINDSAY HAUPT NAMED THE BIG SKY'S 19TH BEST FEMALE ATHLETE
November 14, 2013 FINAL HOMESTAND FOR VOLLEYBALL WITH POSTSEASON IMPLICATIONS ON TAP
November 11, 2013 VOLLEYBALL FALLS AT NORTHERN COLORADO, STILL CLINGS TO A PLAYOFF SPOT
November 9, 2013 VOLLEYBALL FALLS IN THREE AT NORTH DAKOTA
October 31, 2013 WINNING STREAK AT FOUR AS VOLLEYBALL BEATS SOUTHERN UTAH
October 30, 2013 VOLLEYBALL LOOKS TO INCREASE WINNING STREAK THIS WEEK ON THE ROAD
October 26, 2013 HOME COURT KIND AGAIN AS VOLLEYBALL BEATS EASTERN WASHINGTON
October 25, 2013 VOLLEYBALL SECURES HUGE HOME VICTORY OVER PORTLAND STATE
October 23, 2013 VOLLEYBALL HOSTS A PAIR OF LEAGUE MATCHES THIS FRIDAY AND SATURDAY
October 19, 2013 VOLLEYBALL HITS SEASON-HIGH .398 IN FOUR-SET WIN OVER MONTANA STATE
October 18, 2013 VOLLEYBALL FALLS AT HOME TO MONTANA
October 12, 2013 VOLLEYBALL NOW 4-4 IN CONFERENCE PLAY AFTER LOSS AT IDAHO STATE
October 11, 2013 VOLLEYBALL PICKS UP FIVE-SET ROAD WIN AT WEBER STATE
October 9, 2013 VOLLEYBALL TRAVELS TO MATCHUPS AT WEBER STATE AND IDAHO STATE
October 3, 2013 VOLLEYBALL WINS FIVE-SET NAIL BITER OVER NORTHERN COLORADO
October 2, 2013 VOLLEYBALL LOOKS TO EXTEND WINNING STREAK THIS WEEK AT HOME
September 28, 2013 VOLLEYBALL DOMINATES SOUTHERN UTAH IN THREE QUICK SETS
September 27, 2013 VOLLEYBALL HITS FOR HIGH PERCENTAGE, DEFEATS NORTHERN ARIZONA
September 26, 2013 VOLLEYBALL BEGINS HOMESTAND WITH MATCHES FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT
September 21, 2013 VOLLEYBALL DROPS BIG SKY MATCHUP AT PORTLAND STATE
September 19, 2013 VOLLEYBALL LOSES FIVE-SET HEARTBREAKER TO EWU IN BIG SKY OPENER
September 18, 2013 VOLLEYBALL OPENS BIG SKY PLAY THURSDAY AT EASTERN WASHINGTON
September 14, 2013 VOLLEYBALL CONCLUDES TOURNAMENT WITH LOSS TO BOISE STATE
September 13, 2013 LOVETT’S 14 KILLS NOT ENOUGH IN VOLLEYBALL’S LOSS TO IDAHO
September 13, 2013 VOLLEYBALL OPENS TOURNAMENT WITH LOSS TO NORTH TEXAS
September 10, 2013 VOLLEYBALL TRAVELS TO UC DAVIS TONIGHT, BOISE STATE LATER THIS WEEK
September 10, 2013 VOLLEYBALL FALLS AT UC DAVIS
September 6, 2013 VOLLEYBALL STUMBLES AT HOME AGAINST SAN JOSE STATE
September 4, 2013 VOLLEYBALL HOSTS 11TH-ANNUAL SACRAMENTO STATE INVITATIONAL
September 2, 2013 LOVETT CAPS BIG WEEK WITH BIG SKY VOLLEYBALL PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS
September 1, 2013 LOVETT WITH A HUGE DAY, VOLLEYBALL NOW 3-0 AFTER WIN OVER LA SALLE
August 28, 2013 VOLLEYBALL BEGINS 2013 SEASON ON SATURDAY IN PHILADELPHIA
August 23, 2013 VOLLEYBALL HOSTS ALUMNI MATCH THIS SATURDAY
August 22, 2013 2013 VOLLEYBALL SEASON OUTLOOK