DENVER -- Sacramento State overcame large deficits in both the second and third sets while saving a combined six set points to eventually sweep past UC Santa Barbara, 3-0 (25-23, 28-26, 27-25), in the second round of the Denver Volleyball Classic on Saturday morning at Hamilton Gymnasium.
Sacramento State overcame deficits of 17-9 in the second set, and 23-16 in the third set while saving three set points in both frames. The no-quit Hornets kept winning the big points late in each frame, saving set points at 22-24, 23-24 and 25-26 in the second, and then saving set points at 22-24, 23-24 and 24-25 in the third.
With the victory, the Hornets (3-3 overall) improved to 2-0 at the two-day tournament, and will play for the tourney title tonight against host Denver, who is also 2-0 thus far at the event. The two teams will play at 6 p.m. PDT on a match that is being televised live on Altitude (DirecTV channel 681). Sacramento State opened the tournament yesterday with a 3-1 victory over McNeese State.
UC Santa Barbara, which lost in five sets to Denver last night (25-23 in the fifth), fell to 2-3 overall with the loss.
Though the Gauchos had more kills (43-40), digs (76-69) and team blocks (8.0-7.0), Sacramento State limited UC Santa Barbara to a .100 hitting percentage. The Gauchos hit just .184 in the first set, followed by .074 in the second and .043 in the third, finishing with 43 kills and 28 errors in 150 attacks. The Hornets have now limited three opponents to .100 hitting percentages or below this year.
"I really thought everyone played well today, and this was a team effort win," Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. "We kept digging everything they hit at us, and kept rallies alive with inspired play. I was really proud of the effort and how this team never quit despite being down big in two sets. This was a win against a very good UC Santa Barbara team that attacks the ball well."
Outside hitter Mikaela Nocetti led the way with 16 kills, 11 digs, four blocks and two aces. It was Nocetti that had late kills and aces in both the second and third sets to lead the Hornet comeback. In the second set, with the Hornets trailing, 22-24, Nocetti had back-to-back kills followed by an ace. In the third, with the Hornets yet again trailing, 22-24, the senior co-captain had a kill followed by an ace to tie things at 24-24.
Skyler Takeda had a career-high tying 17 digs to go along with a pair of aces. With the Hornets trailing, 23-17, in the third, it was Takeda that served five straight points. Libero Paige Swinney also had 17 digs to round out the three Hornets with double figures in digs.
Middle blocker Lana Brown had six kills and three blocks, outside hitter Sarah Davis registered seven kills and nine digs, setter Ashtin Olin had 34 assists, and middle blocker Brie Gathright had three blocks and a season-best five digs. Rightside hitter Cianna Andrews added six kills.
For UCSB, Lindsey Ruddins had 15 kills and 14 digs, but was limited to a .138 hitting percentage. She entered the tournament averaging 4.62 kills per set to go with a .249 hitting percentage.
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