HONOLULU, Hawaii - Trailing, 2-0, in sets, and 21-17 in the third frame, Sacramento State stormed back to defeat Army (28-30, 10-25, 25-22, 25-21, 15-13) in the third and final round of the Rainbow Wahine Invitational on Saturday afternoon.
The comeback win allowed Sacramento State to improve to 3-4 overall and conclude the tournament with a 1-2 record. The Hornets lost in the first two rounds of the three-day event to Denver and 20th-ranked Hawai'i. Sacramento State was playing in Honolulu for the just the second time in school history, and first time since 1996.
With the loss, Army dropped to 3-3 overall. Sacramento State now owns a 4-0 all-time record against Army and the two teams were playing for the first time since 1993.
Things weren't looking good when the Hornets dropped the first two sets, and found themselves down, 21-17, in the third. However, staring at a potential three-set loss, the Hornets stormed back and closed the frame on an 8-1 run. Sacramento State received kills from four different players during the spurt, including Cianna Andrews (3), Sarah Davis (2), Kayla Subbert (2) and McKenna Smith (1).
A Subbert kill ended the third set, and a Subbert ace ended a fourth set that Sacramento State led for nearly the entire way. The Hornets then jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the fifth set and held on as Army cut the deficit to one point on three occasions. Davis had kills at 13-12, and 14-13 to help put the Hornets in the win column.
The Hornets used a big defensive effort that limited Army to a .130 hitting percentage. Sacramento State had 89 digs and 13.5 team blocks, and Army failed to hit anything better than .159 during each of the final three sets. The Hornets didn't hit particularly well (.107), but got the defense when it needed it most.
"I thought we played really well against a very competitive Army team," Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. "We started to play steady in the third set, and treated every point like it meant something. It was a really good effort by everyone and we came up big in a number of crucial points."
Only four Hornets had better than two kills, but that foursome combined for 46 of the team's 52 kills. Davis finished with a team-high 16 kills to go along with nine digs. Macey Hayden had 11 kills and career highs in both digs (17) and blocks (5), and Subbert added a season-best 10 kills. Andrews had nine kills and five blocks. Hayden was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 2.73 kills and 2.64 digs per set over three matches.
Tiyanane Kamba-Griffin, a true freshman, started at middle blocker and finished with a pair of kills and match-high tying seven blocks. Volta used two setters in today's match, and Smith finished with 18 assists, an ace and career-high 17 digs while Ashtin Olin had 17 assists and season-best six blocks.
Libero Paige Swinney had 25 digs, and joined Michelle Taynton (13), Smith and Hayden as the four Hornets with double digits in digs.
For Army, Courtney Horace had 17 kills, and Ana Oglivie finished with 37 of the team's impressive tally of 108 digs.
Sacramento State is now one-third of the way through its 12-match road trip. The Hornets return to action next week in Chicago for a four-team tournament hosted by UIC. During the two-day event, the Hornets will play Bradley and Murray State on Friday, and UIC on Saturday.
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