SACRAMENTO -- On a night when Sacramento State won for the 1,000th time in program history, it was the Hornets recording a season-best .341 hitting percentage on the way to a four-set win (25-13, 25-23, 19-25, 25-19) over Southern Utah on Thursday evening.
Four Hornet starters had hitting percentages of at least .340 as the team had 56 kills (15 more than Southern Utah) with just 14 errors in 123 swings. Middle blockers Lana Brown (season-high .583) and Cianna Andrews (career-high .500), as well as outside hitters Sarah Davis (season-high .344) and Mikaela Nocetti (season-high .340) all hit for high percentages.
The victory allowed the Hornets to win their second straight while improving to 7-10 overall and 2-1 in the Big Sky Conference. Sacramento State also improved its all-time record to 1,000-458, good for an incredible .686 winning percentage.
During that time, the Hornets have won two national championships, 19 conference titles and have reached the NCAA Tournament on 20 occasions. The Hornets are also 580-340 since joining the Div. I ranks in 1991.
Tonight's match, which had its start time delayed an hour, was the first conference game of the season for the Hornets at home. Sacramento State was able to extend its regular season home winning streak against Big Sky opposition to 25 straight. That streak dates all the way back to Nov. 15, 2014, when the Hornets fell in five sets to Southern Utah.
With the loss, the Thunderbirds dropped to 1-14 overall and 0-3 in league play. Sacramento State improved to 9-4 against Southern Utah since the T-Birds joined the Big Sky in 2012. That includes a 6-1 record at home.
Nocetti fell just two kills shy of her career best with 21 to go along with 11 digs. She has now recorded 20-plus kills on five occasions this year. Davis not only had 14 kills, but also accounted for seven of the Hornets' 11 aces. The seven aces are a career high and tied for the second best mark in program single-match history.
Brown had nine kills with just two errors in 12 swings, and Andrews had eight kills with a pair of errors in 12 attacks. Freshman Ashtin Olin set beautifully tonight, finishing with 51 assists, two aces, eight digs and a pair of blocks. She quarterbacked a Hornet offense that hit .478 in the first set and .448 in the third frame.
Paige Swinney led all players with 15 digs, Brie Gathright had two kills and three blocks, and Skyler Takeda finished with an ace and six digs.
For Southern Utah, Janet Kalaniuvalu had 19 kills, 10 digs and a .364 hitting percentage. The Thunderbirds, who finished hitting .224 in the match, did not have any other player finish with more than six kills.
Tonight began a stretch that will see the Hornets play six times at home in their next eight matches. That includes another home game this Saturday vs. Northern Arizona at 7 p.m. The Hornets are 23-1 at home against NAU, including a stretch of six straight victories vs. the Lumberjacks inside the Nest.