CHICAGO -- Despite a match-high tying 17 kills from Sarah Davis and 13.0 team blocks, Sacramento State lost in the first round of the UIC Invitational, 3-1 (25-18, 23-25, 25-21, 25-21), to Murray State on Friday afternoon.
The match marked the first of three the Hornets will play at the two-day tournament. That includes two more games tomorrow at 8 a.m. PDT vs. Bradley and 5 p.m. PDT against tournament host UIC (formerly Illinois-Chicago).
The loss dropped Sacramento State to 3-5 on the young season while Murray State improved to 3-4. The Racers won the Ohio Valley Conference championship a year ago and qualified for the NCAA Tournament.
For the third straight match, the Hornets went young, starting three freshmen, two juniors and one senior.
The service line had a big impact on today's match as Murray State had seven aces compared to just two for the Hornets. Sacramento State also had a hard time passing on serve receive throughout the match. Both teams did not hit relatively well (Racers .199, Hornets .171), but Murray State had 12 more kills (57-45) and four more digs (66-62).
Sacramento State had 13.0 team blocks, including at least four blocks from four different players - Cianna Andrews (6), Ashtin Olin (6), Tiyanane Kamba-Griffin (5) and Davis (4). Conversely, Murray State had just four team blocks, but Sacramento State was limited to hitting percentages of .227 or below in each of the sets it lost.
Davis' 17 kills accompanied an ace, five digs and her four blocks were a season high. Fellow outside hitter Macey Hayden had 11 kills and matched her career high with 17 digs. Andrews had five kills and a .500 hitting percentage to go along with six blocks, and Kamba-Griffin had six kills and five blocks. Rightside hitter Kayla Subbert added four kills and two blocks.
Libero Paige Swinney, who ranks second in the Big Sky in digs, finished with a team-high 19 while Michelle Taynton added six digs. McKenna Smith (nine assists, an ace and six digs) and Davis were the only Hornets with an ace. Ashtin Olin had 26 assists to go with her season-high tying six blocks. Sacramento State has not registered more than two aces in each of its last five matches.
For Murray State, Rachel Giustino had 17 kills and 14 digs, Rachel Kinney had 14 kills, and Becca Fernandez led everyone with 25 digs.
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