Big Sky Conference standings
OGDEN, Utah — Playing without one of the best players in the Big Sky Conference, Sacramento State dropped a road decision at Weber State (25-23, 25-18, 18-25, 25-19) on Thursday evening at Swenson Gym.
The Hornets were playing without the services of senior co-captain Mikaela Nocetti, who was injured late in the team's last match on Saturday at Idaho. Nocetti leads the Hornets and is second in the Big Sky with an average of 3.90 kills per set. The six-rotation outside hitter also averages 2.53 digs per set and is also one of the conference's top servers.
Coupled with Sacramento State's five-set loss to Idaho on Saturday, the Hornets have lost two straight matches for the first time in seven weeks. The Hornets dropped to 15-14 overall and 10-5 in the conference. Weber State (15-9, 10-5) moved into a three-way tie for third place with Sacramento State and Idaho State. The Hornets swept the Wildcats in Sacramento earlier this season, and should the two teams finish the season tied in the standings, the Hornets would own the tiebreaker.
Weber State improved to 5-2 at home against Big Sky opposition, and snapped a seven-match losing streak to Sacramento State that dated back to 2014.
The only set that remained close throughout was the first, and it proved to be a big one, as Weber State pulled out the 25-23 win. Trailing, 23-20, the Hornets ran off three straight points to tie, highlighted by back-to-back Skyler Takeda aces at 23-21 and 23-22. However, the Wildcats got a kill from Rylin Roberts and a Sacramento State attack error to put the frame away.
Both teams hit above .200, and were separated by one kill as Weber State hit .231 with 49 kills while Sacramento State hit .207 with 50 kills. The Hornets have still not won a match this season when being outhit by the opposition (0-13). Weber State had 10 more digs (53-43) and finished with 10 aces, the most by a Sacramento State opponent this year. The Hornets had six aces, including four from Takeda and two from Paige Swinney.
Sacramento State had three players finish with double figures in kills, including outside hitters Macey Hayden and Sarah Davis who both had 12 kills and six digs. Rightside hitter Cianna Andrews was the Hornets' most consistent player all evening, finishing with 11 kills, three blocks and a team-high .444 hitting percentage. The sophomore needed just 18 attacks to gather the 11 kills.
Middle blocker Lana Brown had seven kills and seven blocks, Swinney had a team-high 14 digs, and setter Ashtin Olin posted four kills, a .333 hitting percentage, 43 assists, seven digs and a pair of blocks. Middle blocker Brie Gathright added four kills and two blocks.
Megan Gneiting led Weber State with 16 kills, five blocks and a .382 hitting percentage.
Tonight was the first of three road matches over a six-day stretch for the Hornets that includes Saturday at Idaho State (6 p.m. PST) and Tuesday at Portland State (7 p.m.).