SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State hit a season-best .398, and four different Hornets hit at least .400 on the way to a 3-1 victory (25-17, 16-25, 25-16, 25-8) over Montana State in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Saturday evening at Colberg Court.
The Hornets hit .500 in the first set, and .481 and .524, respectively, in the third and fourth sets. Sacramento State absolutely dominated the third and fourth frames, leading the entire way in each set. In fact, the Hornets jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the third frame, and 10-0 in the fourth. Despite lasting four sets, the match ended in a very swift one hour and 30 minutes.
With the victory, Sacramento State improved to 10-11 overall and 5-5 in the Big Sky. The Hornets also extended their dominance of Montana State, improving to 39-6 all-time against the Bobcats, including 20 straight wins at home over MSU dating back to 1997.
At the midway point of the conference season, the Hornets find themselves in sixth place in the league standings, a half game behind fifth-place Montana (5-4). The top six teams in the 11-member league qualify for the Big Sky Tournament which will take place Nov. 29-30 in Portland, Ore.
The Hornets' .398 hitting percentage eclipsed their previous high water mark of .396, set against Lafayette in the second match of the season. Sacramento State had 46 kills with just 11 errors in 88 swings. In addition, the Hornets finished with 12.0 team blocks, which matched their team high, set against Cal Poly.
"We started off the match really well, especially with our attacking," Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. " Our passing got better as the match went on, especially in the fourth set, and our offense really fed off that. We also blocked well all evening, and I was happy how determined we played in the third and fourth sets after an ugly second (set)."
True freshman Morgan Stanley finished with 13 kills, eight digs and season highs in both aces (4) and hitting percentage (.611). Fellow outside hitter Sloan Lovett had 14 kills and her .444 hitting percentage narrowly missed eclipsing her career high. Not to be outdone, rightside hitter Kayla Beal had 12 kills without an error, eight digs, six blocks and a season-best .500 hitting percentage. Middle blocker Chelcy Motes chipped in three kills and a .400 hitting percentage.
Freshman middle blocker Kendall LaVine, who saw a surge in playing time tonight, responded by finishing with three kills and season highs in both aces (3) and blocks (8). Seven different Sacramento State players finished with at least one block. Libero Katie Aprile had a team-high 10 digs, and Stanley (4) and LaVine (3) combined for all seven of the Hornets' aces.
For Montana State, Kennadie Clute finished with 17 kills, 11 more than any other Bobcat. Ten of those kills came in MSU's victorious second set. Montana State hit below .075 in all three sets the team lost.
Sacramento State will continue its season-high tying four-match homestand next week with matches against Portland State on Friday, and Eastern Washington on Saturday. Both matchups will begin at 7 p.m.
NOTES -- Tonight was breast cancer awareness as Sacramento State players wore pink shirts in warmups and pink items during the match.
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