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BOISE, Idaho -- Sacramento State was limited to a season-low .105 hitting percentage, and Missouri used 16.5 team blocks to help propel the Tigers to a 3-1 victory (24-26, 25-20, 25-18, 25-20) over the Hornets in the first round of the Boise State Volleyball Invitational at Bronco Gym.
The loss dropped the Hornets to 3-3 on the young season, and the team returns later this evening to face tournament host Boise State at 6:30 p.m. PDT. Sacramento State concludes the tournament tomorrow with a matchup against 10th-ranked BYU at 11 a.m. PDT.
Missouri, which finished 27-6 and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament a year ago, improved to 3-2 with the victory. The two teams were facing each other for just the second time ever. The earlier meeting was won by the Hornets in Fullerton in 1991.
The Hornets had a difficult time getting anything going offensively against a Missouri team that started five players standing six feet or taller. The Hornets had 49 kills with 31 errors in 171 swings. Many of those errors resulted in blocks as the Tigers had 16.5 team blocks. In fact, five different Missouri players recorded four blocks or better.
The Tigers hit .246 with 56 kills and posted 17 more digs than the Hornets (75-58) and 5.5 more team blocks (16.5-11.0).
In the first set, the Hornets saved a set point and overcame a 24-23 deficit by running off three straight points to close the frame. That included a Missouri attack error followed by a Shannon Boyle kill followed by another Missouri attack error. The Hornets trailed, 20-18, in the second set, 18-14 in the third set and 19-18 in the fourth set before the Tigers pulled away at the end each time.
For Sacramento State, outside hitters Boyle and Mikaela Nocetti both notched their fourth double-doubles of the season as they finished with 13 kills and 11 digs apiece. Middle blocker Lana Brown had seven kills and a team-high five blocks, and Brie Gathright added six kills and four blocks. Setter Kennedy Kurtz had 38 assists, an ace and five digs.
Libero Brigitte Murdock led all players with 22 digs, and still has not been credited with a reception error all season. Hannah Meadows added five digs. Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta used two true freshmen off the bench, including Cianna Andrews (two kills) and Macey Hayden (one kill).
Missouri's Sydney Deeken (13), Dariana Hollingsworth (12) and Kira Larson (11) combined for 36 of Missouri's 56 kills while Alyssa Munlyn had seven kills and nine blocks.
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