Sacramento State Invitational Home Page
SACRAMENTO — In a fifth set that featured eight ties and neither team leading by more three points the entire way, it was Seattle that outlasted the Hornets, 3-2 (25-20, 21-25, 23-25, 25-23, 15-13) in the third and final round of the Sacramento State Volleyball Invitational on Saturday evening at the Nest.
Coupled with four-set victories over Nevada and UC Riverside in their first two matches of the two-day tournament, the Hornets finished with a 2-1 record. Seattle and Nevada also finished 2-1 at the four-team tournament while UC Riverside was 0-3. A series of tiebreakers, which eventually boiled down to points differential, allowed Sacramento State to win the tournament title over both Nevada and Seattle.
The Hornets, who were playing their second home tournament during the first three weeks of the season, dropped to 5-6 with the loss. Sacramento State has already lost three five-set matches this season, losing by two points in the fifth set on two of those occasions.
Seattle improved to 5-4 with the victory as the Redhawks opened the tournament yesterday with a five-set win over UC Riverside.
Hornet outside hitter Mikaela Nocetti was named the tournament MVP after averaging 4.08 kills, 3.00 digs and 0.46 aces per set. Libero Paige Swinney was also named to the all-tournament team after averaging 4.77 digs and 0.46 aces per set.
A problem for the Hornets through the first three weeks of the season has been the inability to win the first set. In fact, the Hornets have now lost the first set in all seven home matches this year. In 11 matches overall, Sacramento State has lost the first set nine times.
The Hornets, however, did take the next two sets tonight to take a 2-1 lead. A Sarah Davis kill at 24-23 gave the Hornets a 25-23 win in the third frame and a 2-1 lead. However, Seattle won the fourth and fifth sets by two points, taking advantage of costly Hornet block errors late in both frames.
In the fifth set, Sacramento State took its largest lead at 5-3, and Seattle had its largest advantage at 12-9. Eventually, a Redhawk attack error tied the score at 13-13, but a Hornet block error and a Mahra McLeod kill ended things. Both teams hit poorly in the set (SEA .080; SAC .071), but the Redhawks had nine kills in the frame compared to just three for the Hornets. The Redhawks also had three aces.
Both teams had 64 kills and Sacramento State finished with more aces (7-5), digs (77-69) and team blocks (11.0-7.0), but Seattle was able to scratch out the win.
Nocetti led all players with 21 kills while she also chipped in 12 digs and three aces. Davis tied her career high with 16 kills while also tallying 10 digs. Brie Gathright rounded out the Hornets with double-figure kills as she posted a season-best 10 to go with a match-best .474 hitting percentage and four blocks.
Swinney had 24 digs and combined for 47 digs in two matches today. Lana Brown had seven kills and six blocks, and setter Ashtin Olin posted 55 assists, 12 digs, two aces and three blocks. Skyler Takeda had nine digs, but was held without an ace for the first time in the last nine matches. Gianna Andrews added five kills and three blocks.
Four Redhawks had double figures in kills, comprised of Sofia Sanchez (17 kills), McLeod (13 kills), Maja Stojanovic (11 kills, .400 hitting percentage) and Rachel Stark (10 kills).
The Hornets will now be on the road the next two weeks, which includes playing in a two-day tournament next week in Boise. Sacramento State will take on Portland and Washington on Friday, and host Boise State on Saturday. The Hornets will not play at home again until the Big Sky Conference home opener against Southern Utah on Sept. 27.
Mikaela Nocetti (MVP) – Sacramento State
Paige Swinney – Sacramento State
Shae Harris – Seattle
Tijana Milojevic - Seattle
Kayla Afoa – Nevada
Ashley Maki – Nevada
Chelsea Doyle – UC Riverside