SACRAMENTO -- Outside hitter Shannon Boyle had a match-high 14 kills and setter Kennedy Kurtz added a career-best five aces to help lead Sacramento State to a three-set sweep (25-18, 25-18, 25-14) of Idaho State on Saturday afternoon inside the Nest. Today marked the second Big Sky match of the season for both teams as league play began on Thursday.
With the victory, Sacramento State, which has won eight of its last 10 matches, improved to 11-7 overall and 2-0 in the conference. The Hornets have won each of their first two confernece matches for the third straight season, and the team now has an 18-match winning streak against Big Sky opposition at home. That run stretches back to the beginning of the 2015 Big Sky season.
Sacramento State defeated Weber State in four sets on Thursday, and the Hornets will play six of their first eight conference matches at home. The only road contests during that stretch will come next week at Montana on Thursday and Portland State on Saturday.
With the loss, Idaho State dropped to 3-12 overall and 0-2 in conference. The Bengals finished third in the Big Sky's South Division a year ago with a 10-6 conference mark. Sacramento State is 31-13 all-time against Idaho State, and 17-5 vs. the Bengals at home. In addition, the Hornets have won four straight in the series.
Despite Sacramento State recording its 11th win of the season, today marked the team's first three-set sweep.
Kurtz's five aces all came during an 11-0 run to close the third set that saw the senior setter serve out 10 consecutive points. During that run, Kurtz had aces at 16-14, 18-14, 21-14, 23-14 and 24-14. A Kurtz ace accounted for three of the final four points of the match.
Sacramento State hit .282 and finished one shy of a season best with 11 aces. Besides Kurtz, Shannon Boyle (2) and Mikaela Nocetti (2) also had multiple aces. The Hornets finished with 43 kills, 40 assists, 11 aces, 56 digs and 7.0 team blocks. Sacramento State hit better than .260 in all three frames.
Boyle notched her Big Sky-best 14th double-double of the year with 14 kills and 12 digs to go along with a .297 hitting percentage. She was one of five Hornets with at least six kills, including Nocetti (7 kills, 12 digs), Sarah Davis (7 kills, .316 hit%), Brie Gathright (6 kills, .417 hit%) and Lana Brown (6 kills, match-best 5 blocks).
Kurtz finished with three kills, a .600 hitting percentage, 35 assists, five aces and seven digs. Libero Brigitte Murdock had 13 digs and Skyler Takeda finished with 10 digs and an ace. Murdock has posted double digits in digs in 10 straight matches, and Takeda has a run of 10-plus digs and at least one ace in three consecutive matches.
Abby Garrity led Idaho State with 13 kills, but she was also credited with four reception errors. Chloe Hirst had nine kills, 20 digs and a .320 hitting percentage.
Next week, Sacramento State will play on the road at Montana on Thursday at 6 p.m. PDT, followed by Portland State on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Hornets will then begin a season-long four-match homestand that stretches from Oct. 5-14.
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