SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Four Sacramento State players finished with double figures in kills, led by senior Kayla Beal's team-high 14, as the Hornets defeated Portland State, 3-1 (25-23, 25-22, 17-25, 25-20), in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Friday evening at Colberg Court.
Joining Beal with double digits in kills for the Hornets were three underclassmen in sophomore Sloan Lovett (12), and true freshmen Morgan Stanley (12 kills, eight digs) and Courtney Dietrich (10). In fact, Dietrich had a huge match, securing season highs in kills and blocks (8) while also hitting .444 (10-2-18). Two of her eight blocks were solo stuffs.
The win for the Hornets was large in that it came over a Portland State team that entered the match all alone in second place in the league standings. In addition, Sacramento State (11-11, 6-5) moved into a two-way tie for fifth place with nine matches remaining in the regular season. The top six squads in the 11-team Big Sky qualify for the league's postseason event.
The Hornets, who are now 5-2 at home against conference foes, conclude their season-high tying four-match homestand tomorrow against Eastern Washington at 7 p.m. With the loss, Portland State, which had won eight of its last 10 matches, dropped to 11-10 overall and 8-3 in the conference. The Hornets are now 37-21 all-time against the Vikings, including 17-4 when playing PSU on the home floor.
Sacramento State played a complete match, hitting .281 while also posting a season-best 13.0 team blocks. Five different Hornets had at least two blocks, comprised of Dietrich (8), Chelcy Motes (5), Beal (4), Stanley (3) and Lovett (2). Fittingly, the match ended on a combo block from Dietrich and Beal. Although the Hornets had just three aces, the team had numerous serves that forced bad passes and threw Portland State out of their offense.
"I was really pleased with our serving, defense and blocking tonight," Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. "We have been steady all year with our attack, and we certainly continued to attack the ball well in some tight situations tonight. The team also dug a lot of tough balls and our block really made things difficult on Portland State."
Offensively, the Hornets had 55 kills with just 16 errors in 139 attacks. Beal hit .353 while posting a double-double (14 kills, 10 digs) to go along with her four blocks. Setter Hannah Hettinga finished with two kills, 44 assists and nine digs, Motes added five kills and libero Katie Aprile had a team-best 19 digs.
Of Beal's 13 kills, four came in the fourth set as she also finished the frame with an .800 hitting percentage. Portland State had more kills (61-55) and digs (57-49) than Sacramento State, but the Hornets made less mistakes (24 attack errors for PSU; 16 for SAC) and took advantage of the 13.0 team blocks.
The first set saw Sacramento State overcome an early 6-1 deficit to take its first lead at 13-12, and eventually a Beal kill at 24-23 gave the Hornets the frame. In the second set, the Hornets led, 21-20, before closing on a 4-2 run, which included a Stanley kill on set point.
Portland State, which hit .259 for the match, had three players finish with double figures in kills, comprised of Kaeli Patton (17), Jaklyn Wheeler (16) and Aubrey Mitchell (10). Patton hit .351 in the match, but was limited to a .133 hitting percentage in the fourth set. Libero Kasimira Clark led all players with 21 digs.
Tomorrow night's match is the first of just three remaining home contests for the Hornets. After tomorrow night, Sacramento State will play six of its final eight contests on the road.
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