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QUEENS, N.Y. — In an incredibly tight match, it was St. John's that won with the clutch points in a 3-1 victory (25-23, 25-21, 23-25, 25-23) over Sacramento State in the second round of the Jack Kaiser Volleyball Classic at Carnesecca Arena.
The Hornets are now 1-1 at the two-day, four-match tournament, which includes a 3-2 victory over UConn earlier today. Sacramento State will conclude the tournament tomorrow with matches against Holy Cross at 9 a.m. PDT and New Hampshire at 2 p.m. PDT.
In a match that lasted nearly two hours (1:51) and saw three of the four sets decided by 25-23 outcomes, it was tournament host St. John's that finally came through with the victory. After the Hornets put forth a strong blocking effort in the victory over UConn (17.0 team blocks), Sacramento State finished with just 4.0 team blocks in tonight's loss.
In the first match ever between the two teams, the Red Storm hit for a high percentage (.285) while finishing with five aces, 80 digs and 10.0 team blocks. In comparison, the Hornets had just one ace, 74 digs and 4.0 team blocks. The two teams were tied at 22-22 in the first set and 20-20 in the fourth frame, but St. John's came through with the victory each time.
The fourth set was especially grueling as the Hornets had sliced a 24-21 deficit to 24-23 after a St. John's attack error and a kill from Shannon Boyle. However, a Sacramento State service error (the team's eighth of the evening) ended the set and match. In that fourth set, both teams combined for just five attack errors as the Hornets hit .405 in the frame while the Red Storm hit .389.
Junior middle blocker Lana Brown, who led the team with 14 kills and a .471 hitting percentage in the win over UConn, upped those career highs to 19 kills and a .485 hitting percentage in the loss to St. John's. Through two matches, Brown now leads the team in kills (3.67 per set), blocks (1.22 per set) and hitting percentage (.527). She has 33 kills with just four errors in 55 total attacks.
Brown was joined in double-figure kills by outside hitters Shannon Boyle (19 kills, 15 digs) and Mikaela Nocetti (13 kills, 12 digs). Both players posted double-doubles in each match today. Rightside hitter Sarah Davis had seven kills and middle blocker Brie Gathright finished with seven kills and a .500 hitting percentage. In fact, the middle blocker combination of Brown and Gathright finished with 26 kills and a .489 hitting percentage in the match.
Setter Kennedy Kurtz matched her career high with 63 assists and libero Brigitte Murdock was one shy of her career best after finishing with 23 digs. Brown had three blocks in the match, but no other Hornet finished with more than one. True freshman Cianna Andrews made her first collegiate appearance and finished with two kills in two attacks.
For St. John's, Hanna Wagner had 11 kills and a .500 hitting percentage, Jordan McCalla finished with 20 kills, 11 digs and a .372 mark, and Delaney D'Amore led all players with 31 digs.