PORTLAND, Ore. -- Sacramento State sophomore Morgan Stanley tied her career high with 24 kills, including the decisive kill on match point to give the Hornets a 3-2 victory (25-20, 23-25, 17-25, 25-21, 16-14) over Portland State in a Big Sky Conference volleyball matchup Saturday afternoon at the Stott Center.
After dropping two of the first three sets, it was well-timed Hornet runs at the end of both the fourth and fifth frames which propelled Sacramento State to victory. In the fourth set, leading by just a point at 22-21, Sacramento State won the last three points of the frame to force the fifth and final set. In the fifth, Sacramento State trailed, 13-10, before ripping off a 6-1 run to close the set and match.
During the 6-1 run, Stanley was on fire, accounting for three of those six points via kills. That included kills to make the score, 12-13, 13-13, and 16-14. Stanley, who began the contest on the right side but was shifted to outside hitter at the beginning of the fourth set, finished with five kills and four digs in the decisive frame. A PSU attack error gave the Hornets a match point at 14-13, but the Vikings' Leigh-Ann Haataja countered with a kill to tie things at 14-14. Sacramento State was able to put the match away with back-to-back kills from freshman Shannon Boyle and Stanley.
Playing in front of a large contingent of Hornet fans that got louder as the match progressed, Sacramento State limited Portland State to just a .153 hitting percentage while the Hornets tied a season high with 16.0 team blocks and finished with 96 digs as well. Among the numerous Sacramento State fans in attendance included a massive cheering section from nearby Ridgefield High School, home of the Spudders and Boyle's alma mater.
With the victory, Sacramento State improved its record to 7-20 overall and 2-10 in the Big Sky. The Hornets, who have split their last four matches (both wins coming on the road), have just four matches remaining on the regular season schedule. That includes road contests next week on Thursday at Weber State and Saturday against Idaho State, followed by the final two home contests of the season against Northern Arizona (Nov. 13) and Southern Utah (Nov. 15).
In addition, the win was the 500th for the Hornets in the program's Div. I era (1991-pres.) as Sacramento State is now 500-299 since making the jump from Div. II.
Portland State dropped to 7-17 overall and 5-7 in the conference. The win over the Vikings snapped a six-match losing streak in Portland as the Hornets had not won inside the Stott Center since Oct. 17, 2008.
Numerous career highs were set in a match that saw head coach Ruben Volta use 11 players. Stanley, who has played at a high level for nearly a month, posted her fourth straight double-double and sixth in the last eight matches. That included today's stat line of 24 kills, 18 digs, two aces, four blocks and a .258 hitting percentage. The 24 kills matched a career high and the 18 digs set a new personal best. In addition, libero Lexie Skalbeck finished with career-high 31 digs, middle blocker Courtney Dietrich had a career-best 11 blocks, and setter Kennedy Kurtz notched her third straight double-double (assists and digs) and ninth of the season with 51 assists and 10 digs.
Outside hitter Sloan Lovett added 11 kills and four blocks, including three kills in the fifth set, and Boyle finished with seven kills, five digs, two blocks and a .250 hitting percentage. Middle hitter Madeline Cannon had eight kills, four blocks and a team-high .333 hitting percentage and defensive specialist Brigitte Murdock had 14 digs.
Both teams had the same amount of kills (61), assists (51) and aces (7) while Portland State owned a small advantage in digs (98-96) and the Hornets in team blocks (16.0-12.0). Sacramento State finished the match with a .188 hitting percentage.
For the Vikings, Haataja had 19 kills and a .386 hitting percentage, Roni LaPierre had 21 digs and Kasimira Clark added 28 digs. Katie O'Brien had nine kills and a team-high seven blocks.
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