BOISE, Idaho -- Boise State had five players post at least seven kills, and hit .391 as a team on the way to a three-set sweep (25-11, 25-17, 25-16) of Sacramento State in the third and final round of the Marriott Courtyard Bronco Volleyball Classic on Saturday afternoon.
The loss dropped the Hornets to 5-6 overall this season, and the team finished the tournament with an 0-3 record. Sacramento State lost to both North Texas and Idaho in the first and second rounds yesterday.
The Hornets played the entire tournament without arguably their best player in team co-captain and rightside hitter Kayla Beal (back injury). The loss loomed large as Beal, who is a six-rotation rightside hitter, had been the team's best passer and blocker all season as well as the second best attacker. There is no time table for Beal's return as the fourth-year senior is out indefinitely with the injury.
Amazingly, Sacramento State combined for just 8.0 team blocks during the entire tournament. The team averaged 10.40 kills per set while hitting .143 over the three matches. Conversely, the Hornets' three opponents combined to hit .305 with 14.50 kills per set.
All five Boise State players that finished with at least seven kills also hit .400 or better, including Brittany Reardon who finished with seven kills and a .667 hitting percentage. With the Hornets accumulating just 1.0 team block during the match, the Broncos had little trouble with their attack, hitting .269, .345 and .531, respectively, in the three sets.
Boise State had 22 more kills (46-24), 12 more digs (39-27) and five more team blocks (6.0-1.0) while limiting the Hornets to a .094 hitting percentage. Sacramento State's largest lead of the match came at 5-2 early in the third set.
For the Hornets, sophomore Lauren Aikels posted team highs in kills (11) and hitting percentage (.269). Sophomore Sloan Lovett added seven kills, and senior libero Katie Aprile finished with a team-best 11 digs. Hannah Hettinga, Katelyn Ivy, Lovett and Aprile each had an ace.
Today marked the final non-conference tuneup of the season as Sacramento State opens Big Sky Conference play on the road next week. The Hornets will play at Eastern Washington on Thursday at 6 p.m., followed by Portland State on Saturday at 7 p.m.