MISSOULA, Mont. — Sacramento State hit .322 and posted its second consecutive three-set sweep after beating Montana, 3-0 (29-27, 25-11, 25-19), on the road at West Auxiliary Gym on Thursday evening.
With the victory, the Hornets remain perfect in the Big Sky Conference while improving to 12-7 overall and 3-0 in league play. Sacramento State has won nine of its last 11 matches, and has outscored conference opposition by a combined 9-1 margin in sets thus far.
In addition, Sacramento State won in Missoula for the first time since Oct. 5, 2007, snapping a streak of seven straight losses on Montana's home floor. The Hornets are now 30-13 all-time against Montana. With tonight's loss, the Griz dropped to 5-11 overall and 0-3 in the conference.
After posting four or five-set victories in each of its first 10 wins, Sacramento State has now posted back-to-back sweeps, including a 3-0 rout of Idaho State last Saturday at home. The Hornets are one of just three squads remaining in the 12-team Big Sky with perfect conference records, including Portland State and defending Big Sky champion North Dakota. The Hornets will play Portland State in a big matchup on the road Saturday at 7 p.m.
Tonight's .322 hitting percentage was the team's second highest output of the season as the Hornets had 52 kills with just 13 errors in 121 swings. Conversely, Montana was limited to a .160 percentage, which included just 35 kills and 18 errors in 106 attacks.
Sacramento State was able to grab all the momentum in a first set that saw the Hornets erase a 22-19 deficit and save set points at 24-23, 26-25 and 27-26. With Montana leading, 27-26, the Hornets scored the final three points of the frame on a Montana service error followed by a Mikaela Nocetti ace and a combo block from Kennedy Kurtz and Brie Gathright. From there, it was all Hornets as the team won the second and third sets handily.
In a match that saw head coach Ruben Volta use 12 different players, four Hornets hit for high percentages. That included Kurtz who tied her career high with seven kills to go along with a .462 hitting percentage and 36 assists. Rightside hitter Sarah Davis had nine kills and a career-best .562 hitting percentage and Nocetti chipped in a match-high 15 kills to go along with two aces, nine digs, two blocks and a .364 hitting percentage. Gathright added four kills, four blocks and a .300 hitting percentage.
Outside hitter Shannon Boyle had 12 kills, two aces and 11 digs and posted her sixth consecutive double-double. The fourth-year senior continues to lead the Big Sky with 15 double-doubles. Four Hornets had at least nine digs, comprised of Boyle (11), Nocetti (9), Brigitte Murdock (9) and Skyler Takeda (9).
For Montana, Mikaela Hammer had 10 kills, 11 digs and a .400 hitting percentage, and McKenzie Kramer added seven kills, three blocks and a .545 hitting percentage. The two teams combined for just seven team blocks (SAC 4.0, UM 3.0).