RENO, Nev. - For the second time this season, Sacramento State lost a close match to Missouri. This time, the Hornets had chances to win but eventually fell to the Tigers in the third and final round of the Wolf Pack Volleyball Tournament by the score of 3-2 (25-18, 23-25, 17-25, 25-23, 16-14).
The Hornets won two of the first three sets, and had leads of 9-5 and 15-12 in the fourth set, but could not pull out the win. Missouri eventually took a 24-20 lead in that fourth set, but the Hornets stormed back to get within, 24-23, before a service error forced a fifth set.
In the fifth set, Missouri (7-6) never trailed, but the Hornets tied the score on five occasions. One of those ties came at 14-14 after the Hornets saved three consecutive match points to overcome a 14-11 deficit. However, Missouri got a kill from Dariana Hollingswort and caught a huge break at 15-14 match point. The Hornets' Shannon Boyle ripped a ball off a pair of Missouri blocker outstretched hands, and stumbled out of bounds after her swing. The ball bounced off the Missouri block and would have gone out of bounds for a tie score, but the ball hit Boyle while she was still out of bounds after the stumble.
With the loss, Sacramento State (9-7) concluded the three-day tournament with a 1-2 record. That included a four-set victory over tournament host Nevada on Thursday followed by a three-set loss to Pepperdine yesterday. The loss to Pepperdine snapped the Hornets' six-match winning streak.
In a rare scheduling quirk, the Hornets had to play Missouri twice this season, which included a 3-1 loss to the Tigers on Sept. 1 in Boise. Prior to this season, Sacramento State and Missouri had played just once, a three-set Hornet win in 1991.
Today marked the final non-conference match of the season for Sacramento State as the team opens Big Sky Conference play next week with home games against Weber State (7 p.m.) on Thursday and Idaho State on Saturday (1 p.m.). In fact, the Hornets will play six of their first eight conference matches of the season at home. Sacramento State played just two of its 17 non-conference matches at home.
The Hornets had a season-high 12 aces, including four from Skyler Takeda, three from Boyle and two more from Mikaela Nocetti. One of those Nocetti aces tied the score at 14-14 in the fifth set. However, Missouri held sizable advantages over Sacramento State in kills (71-58), hitting percentage (.251-.177), digs (104-78) and team blocks (14.0-7.0). Fourteen of those kills for the Tigers came in the fifth set compared to just seven for the Hornets in the decisive set.
For the Hornets, outside hitters Boyle had 16 kills and 11 digs and Nocetti had 12 kills and 14 digs. Nocetti finished the tournament averaging 3.67 kills and 3.00 digs per set while hitting .276 while Boyle had tournament averages of 3.33 kills and 3.33 digs per set.
Also in double-figures kills for Sacramento State was middle blocker Lana Brown who had 13 kills, five blocks and a .276 hitting percentage. Brie Gathright and Sarah Davis both had seven kills, and libero Brigitte Murdock had a match-best 27 digs. Takeda had 12 digs go to along with her four aces. Setter Kennedy Kurtz had three kills, 50 assists, an ace and nine digs.
For Missouri, Hollingswort (18), Melanie Crow (14), Kira Larson (13) and Alyssa Munlyn (10) all posted double figures in kills. Six Tigers had at least 10 digs, led by Riley Sents' 25 digs.