Text-Only Site

VOLLEYBALL BEATS UT ARLINGTON, CROWNED MAVERICK CLASSIC CHAMPIONS

VOLLEYBALL BEATS UT ARLINGTON, CROWNED MAVERICK CLASSIC CHAMPIONS

ARLINGTON, Texas -- After posting a 26-7 record last season, Sacramento State is off to quick start in 2016, completing the Maverick Volleyball Classic with a perfect 3-0 record, and in the process, winning the tournament title.

After winning its first two matches of the tournament over Arkansas Pine Bluff (3-0) and Sam Houston State (3-2), the Hornets played in the tournament championship this evening and pulled off a 3-1 victory (26-24, 25-23, 22-25, 25-18) over host UT Arlington. The Mavericks, who finished the 2015 season with a 19-10 record, also entered this evening's match with a 2-0 record.

Three Hornets were named to the all-tournament team, comprised of senior libero Lexie Skalbeck (5.00 dps), junior setter Kennedy Kurtz (11.50 aps, 2.83 dps) and junior outside hitter Shannon Boyle (4.10 kps, 3.10 dps). Three other Sacramento State players could have easily been named all-tourney as Morgan Stanley (4.09 kps, 2.73 dps), Madeline Cannon (3.08 kps, 1.08 bps) and Courtney Dietrich (1.73 kps, .485 hit%) also had big tournaments.

In the first-ever meeting between the two teams, it was the Hornets outlasting UT Arlington, 3-1, in a match which lasted nearly two hours. Perhaps the turning point in the contest came during the first set when the Hornets overcame deficits of 18-9, 20-13 and 24-22. In fact, with the Hornets trailing, 22-24, the team connected on four straight kills, including back-to-back from Cannon to tie the score at 24-24 and kills from Gathright and Stanley, respectively, to win.

With the score tied at 23-23 in the second set, Stanley crushed a ball down the line for a 24-23 lead and Kurtz finished things by winning a joust on set point. Although the Hornets dropped the third set, Sacramento State closed the fourth frame on an 8-4 run to break open what had been a 17-14 lead.

The Hornets had a robust 82 digs in the match (20.50 per set) after tallying 83 earlier today in the win over Sam Houston State. In fact, the Hornets held advantages over UT Arlington in kills (67-50), hitting percentage (.235-.209), assists (60-46) and digs (82-76).

"I was really happy with our competitiveness in tight sets this evening, and defensively, we came up with huge digs at important times," Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. "It was a team effort on defense and the team played good, hard volleyball. Offensively, we attacked well at times, and I really liked our serve receive as well."

Stanley finished with a match-high 21 kills to go along with 15 digs as the senior outside hitter combined for 37 kills in two matches today. After finishing with a career-best 19 kills in the win over Sam Houston State, Boyle improved that career high once again with 20 kills in this evening's win while also tallying nine digs.

Cannon, who has made the transition from middle blocker a year ago to rightside hitter, had 12 kills and three blocks. Kurtz had 50 assists, three kills and 11 digs, Dietrich posted seven kills and a team-high .400 hitting percentage, Brie Gathright had five blocks and Skalbeck had 18 digs and seven assists. True freshman Paige Swinney added two aces and 12 digs to round out the Hornet foursome with double digits in digs. Brigitte Murdock had nine digs and Skyler Takeda posted three digs.

Sacramento State is back in action next week when the team plays in the Vegas Shuffle in Las Vegas. The Hornets will play three matches over two days at the tournament, including Friday at UNLV, and Saturday against both Cal State Northridge and Hofstra.

NOTES -- The Hornets are 3-0 for the first time since 2013, and for just the second time in the last nine years…as a team, Sacramento State finished the tournament with averages of 14.50 kills, 13.50 assists, 1.50 aces, 17.75 digs and 1.88 blocks per set…opponents hit just .111 against the Hornet defense during the tournament…in 12 sets, Sacramento State was aced just 11 times…15 different Hornets received playing time during the tournament…Dietrich is hitting a team-high .485 with 19 kills and just three errors in 33 swings…the Hornets' 3-2 win over Sam Houston State this morning marked just the team's third five-set match dating back to the beginning of last year…Cannon went over the 500 kill mark during the tournament, and now has 536 career kills in a Sacramento State uniform…Stanley had a team-high 45 kills during the tournament and upped her career total to 844 kills.