SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State easily took the first set, but Nevada responded by winning each of the next three frames to beat the Hornets, 3-1 (16-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-16), in the first round of the Sacramento State Invitational on Friday evening at the Nest.
The two-day, six-match tournament, which features four teams, began this afternoon with Cal Poly defeating Grand Canyon in four set. Four more matches are on the schedule tomorrow, beginning at 10 a.m. with Cal Poly taking on Nevada. The Hornets will face Grand Canyon at noon, and Cal Poly at 7:30 p.m. For complete tournament information, including schedule, ticket prices and more, please click here.
After winning the first three matches of the season, the Hornets (5-7 overall) are in a bit of a rut, having lost seven of their last nine. Sacramento State has already lost more matches at home this season (0-2) than it did all of last year (11-1). The Hornets lost to Nevada in Sacramento for just the second time in school history as they had been 20-1 all-time against the Wolf Pack at home. The Hornets still lead the overall series, 34-12.
Nevada won its eighth straight match while improving to 8-2.
The Hornets overcame a 10-5 deficit in the first set by closing the frame on a 20-6 run to win, 25-16. Things were looking good as Sacramento State hit .371 while Nevada hit just .121.
The Hornets rode that momentum to a quick 7-4 lead in the second set. However, Nevada responded with a 13-6 run to take control of the set and match. In fact, Sacramento State's largest lead the rest of the evening was 8-5 in the third set. Nevada hit .297, .457 and .270, respectively, in the final three sets while the Hornets hit .125, .214 and .064.
Nevada had just one more kill than the Hornets (55-54), but finished the match with a .289 hitting percentage while Sacramento State hit .183. In addition, the Wolf Pack had 79 digs, including 67 over the final three sets. Conversely, Sacramento State had 61 digs as Nevada had just nine attack errors combined during the final three sets.
Outside hitter Shannon Boyle led the team in kills (14), digs (14) and aces (3) while hitting .297. Middle blockers Courtney Dietrich and Brie Gathright played well again, as Gathright had nine kills and team highs in blocks (5) and hitting percentage (.471). Dietrich tallied seven kills, five digs, three blocks and a .417 hitting percentage. Overall this season, Dietrich is now hitting .407 while Gathright is hitting .350.
Setter Kennedy Kurtz had three kills, a .375 hitting percentage, 46 assists and a team-high tying 14 digs. Outside hitter Mikaela Nocetti, who was inserted into the match midway through the second set, finished with six kills and three digs. Lexie Skalbeck, who began the evening with an average of 4.74 digs per set, finished with 12 digs, her second lowest output of the season. Madeline Cannon posted 10 kills, the fifth time she has finished in double figures this year.
For Nevada, both Madison Foley and Madison Morell had 15 kills. Five different Wolf Pack players finished with double figures in digs, comprised of Morell (21), Ayla Fresenius (14), Madison Thorpe (13), Lyndsey Anderson (13) and Foley (11).
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