ARLINGTON, Texas -- Junior Shannon Boyle posted career highs in kills (19) and digs (20) to lead Sacramento State to a 3-2 win (25-18, 25-16, 23-25, 23-25, 15-9) over Sam Houston State in the second round of the Maverick Volleyball Classic.
The victory sets up a showdown vs. host UT Arlington tonight at 5 p.m. PDT for the tournament championship. Both teams are 2-0 at the tournament thus far, including the Hornets' 3-0 win over Arkansas Pine Bluff yesterday afternoon. This marks the season-opening matches for all four teams at the tournament.
In this morning's win against Sam Houston, the Hornets limited the Bearkats to a .105 hitting percentage. In fact, Sam Houston failed to hit anything better than .182 in all five sets. In the decisive fifth set, the Bearkats hit .000 with five kills and five errors in 29 attacks.
Sacramento State won each of the first two sets with relative ease as both frames were never in doubt. Sam Houston State, which took UT Arlington to five sets before losing last night, fought back to win both the third and fourth sets by 25-23 scores. The Hornets had a 23-21 lead in the third before the Bearkats won each of the last four points to avoid the three-set sweep.
In the fifth set, after trailing, 7-5, the Hornets closed the frame on a 10-2 run to win the match. Sacramento State hit .304 in the set with eight kills and just one error in 23 swings. That included three kills in three attacks for Courtney Dietrich and three kills from Boyle. It was Boyle or Dietrich accounting for five of the Hornets' final seven points of the match via kill or block.
Boyle, who missed a good portion of the last year with a back injury, was incredible all morning, finishing with 19 kills, 20 digs, three assists, two aces, two blocks and a .246 hitting percentage. Her previous career highs were 15 kills and 18 digs. Joining Boyle with double figures in kills for the Hornets were Morgan Stanley (16 kills, 11 digs, four blocks) and Madeline Cannon (13 kills, match-high six blocks).
Dietrich finished with nine kills, four blocks and a match-best .467 hitting percentage, and fellow middle blocker Brie Gathright had five kills and four blocks. Setter Kennedy Kurtz finished four assists shy of her career high as she had 59 to go along with 18 digs (one shy of career best). Libero Lexie Skalbeck added a team-high 23 digs and three aces.
Through two matches, Boyle (3.50), Stanley (3.43) and Cannon (3.12) are each averaging better than three kills per set. In addition, Skalbeck is averaging a robust 5.25 digs per set.
The Hornets held sizable advantages over the Bearkats in nearly every statistical category, including kills (64-50), hitting percentage (.197-.105), assists (63-47), aces (8-4) and team blocks (11.5-9.0).
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