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QUEENS, N.Y. — Sacramento State concluded the Jack Kaiser Volleyball Classic with a pair of 3-1 victories over Holy Cross and New Hampshire. The Hornets defeated the Crusaders, 25-19, 22-25, 25-18, 25-20, and took down the Wildcats by a 25-22, 17-25, 25-18, 25-9 score.
With the victories, the Hornets, who played four matches over two days, completed the season-opening tournament with a 3-1 record. Yesterday, Sacramento State began the event by beating UConn in five sets and falling to tournament host St. John's in four sets.
Both Sacramento State and St. John's went 3-1 in tournament play, but the Red Storm were crowned tournament champions by virtue of beating the Hornets head-to-head. For Sacramento State, senior setter Kennedy Kurtz and junior middle blocker Lana Brown were named to the all-tournament team.
Brown was incredible, finishing the four matches with a .490 hitting percentage to go along with averages of 3.29 kills and 1.00 blocks per set. Brown connected for double figures in kills and hit better than .390 in all four matches, and set new single-match career highs in kills (19), hitting percentage (.591) and blocks (8).
Kurtz averaged 11.18 assists, 3.06 digs and 0.76 blocks per set while also totaling 14 kills and six aces. Kurtz, a team co-captain, set or tied single-match career highs in assists (63), blocks (8) and digs (20).
As a team, the Hornets averaged 13.82 kills and 17.18 digs per set while limiting the opposition to a .185 hitting percentage. Shannon Boyle, Mikaela Nocetti and Kurtz each posted three double-doubles during the tournament while Brown, Boyle and Nocetti notched double figures in kills in each of the four matches.
"I thought our play in the tournament was a pretty good way to start the season," Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. "We played at a high level when we were serving well and playing good defense. However, the team still needs to get better at serve receive, and when we struggled, it was because we weren't passing well.
"Lana was incredible all weekend and Kennedy did a good job of distributing the ball. When we control the ball offensively, we are a pretty good team."
Sophomore Sarah Davis made her debut as starting rightside hitter and finished with 2.00 kills and 0.56 blocks per set. She had at least seven kills in each of the four matches. Senior Brigitte Murdock made her debut as the team's starting libero and responded with 4.24 digs per set, including a pair of matches with 20-plus digs.
Middle blocker Brie Gathright averaged 1.50 kills and 0.88 blocks per set, and defensive specialist Hannah Meadows posted double-figure digs on a pair of occasions and averaged 2.29 digs per set. That included a career-high 13 digs vs. UConn. Two freshmen made their collegiate debuts during the tournament, comprised of middle blocker Cianna Andrews and outside hitter Macey Hayden.
The Hornets return to action for four matches next week, including Wednesday's home opener against Pacific at 7 p.m. Sacramento State will also play a two-day tournament in Boise in which the Hornets will face Missouri, Boise State and BYU.
NOTES - The Hornets are 3-1 for the third straight year…each of the past two seasons, the team finished with at least 20 victories…Kurtz's career-high 20 digs came today against New Hampshire…Volta used the same starting lineup in all four matches, comprised of Boyle and Nocetti at outside hitter, Kurtz at setter, Gathright and Brown at middle blocker, Davis on the right side, and Murdock at libero.
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