DENVER — Denver had 10 kills and hit .476 in the decisive fifth set on the way to a 3-2 victory (25-23, 18-25, 25-23, 20-25, 15-9) over Sacramento State in the third and final round of the Denver Volleyball Classic on Saturday evening at Hamilton Gymnasium.
With the loss, the Hornets conclude the two-day tournament with a 2-1 record, which includes a 3-0 victory over UC Santa Barbara and a 3-1 win against McNeese State. Sacramento State is now 3-4 overall this season, and will look forward to four home matches next week.
Denver, which was the tournament host, won the four-team event after finishing with a perfect 3-0 record. The Pioneers, who were playing the Hornets for the first time ever, improved to 5-1 this season.
Sacramento State hit a season-best .251 in this evening's matchup, but allowed Denver to hit .277, the highest percentage by a Hornet opponent this year. In the sets the Hornets lost, Sacramento State had opportunities to win each as they had a 22-21 lead in the first, a 20-15 advantage in the third, and opened the fifth set on a 4-0 run.
However, Denver was too much as the Pioneers had a big fifth set, finishing the frame with 10 kills and zero errors in 21 attacks. Denver hit .476 in the fifth set while the Hornets committed four errors and hit just .125 in the decisive frame. The Pioneers had 82 digs overall compared to 65 for Sacramento State.
Four Hornets finished with double figures in kills, including Lana Brown's 15 kills and team-high .500 hitting percentage. Sarah Davis chipped in 13 kills and 19 digs (one shy of her career high), Mikaela Nocetti had 14 kills and eight digs, and Cianna Andrews had a career-best 11 kills. Setter Ashtin Olin had seven kills, 46 assists, a .385 hitting percentage, four digs and four blocks, and Brie Gathright had three kills and team-high five blocks.
Skyler Takeda finished with 13 digs and a career-best seven aces, tied for the second best single-match mark in program history. The senior defensive specialist had three aces in the second set, and two each in both the third and fourth frames. Libero Paige Swinney added 10 digs. Sacramento State played just eight players in tonight's match.
Denver was led by Katarina Marinkovic's 16 kills and .500 hitting percentage, Becca Lathan added 17 kills and Lydia Bartalo had 14 kills and 16 digs.
Sacramento State will play four times at home next week beginning with Tuesday's rivalry matchup against UC Davis at 7 p.m. The Hornets will then host the two-day, four-team Sacramento State Invitational on Friday and Saturday. The Hornets will take on Nevada on Friday, and both UC Riverside and Seattle on Saturday.
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