TUCSON — Sacramento State kicked off the Wildcat Classic in victorious fashion, knocking off both New Mexico State (3-2) and Alabama State (3-0) on the first day of the four-team tournament Friday afternoon at the McKale Center.
The victory against New Mexico State was a squeaker (19-25, 25-19, 26-24, 20-25, 17-15) and featured the Hornets squandering two match points before a Macey Hayden kill put things away. The win against Alabama State was not nearly as close as the largest ASU lead was two points in the second set.
With the victory, the Hornets are 2-0 at the two-day tournament and improved to 5-7 overall this season. Sacramento State will attempt to remain perfect at the tournament in its final match of the event tomorrow at noon against host Arizona.
The loss dropped New Mexico State to 8-2 while Alabama State dropped to 3-10. Both New Mexico State and Alabama State won their respective conference championships a year ago and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
vs. New Mexico State
Sacramento State trailed, 13-10, in the fifth set before roaring back with a 4-0 run and an eventual 14-13 lead. New Mexico State turned back match points at 14-13 and 15-14, before a Hayden kill at 16-15 gave the Hornets the win. Sacramento State had been 1-2 all-time against the Aggies, and today marked the first win over NMSU since 1995.
Making the win even sweeter is it came against a New Mexico State team that had been 8-1 and won the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) title last year.
In a match where both teams had four aces and a robust 19 service errors, Sacramento State finished with 57 digs and nine team blocks while winning the majority of the clutch points. That included a third set, where at 24-24, Sarah Davis had a kill and a NMSU attack error allowed Sacramento State to win the set and take a 2-1 lead.
Davis led all players with 21 kills while also finishing with a pair of aces and 11 digs. Middle blocker Cianna Andrews, who had a huge day, posted 11 kills, four blocks and a team-best .381 hitting percentage. Both Hayden and Kayla Subbert had eight kills, none more important than Hayden's termination on match point.
Three Hornets had double figures in digs, including libero Michelle Taynton's team-best 14 while setter Ashtin Olin had three kills, 40 assists, an ace, 10 digs and three blocks. Andrews and Subbert had four blocks while Sarah Falk added three kills and three blocks.
vs. Alabama State
In a matchup of two teams with the nickname of Hornets, it was Sacramento State's version of the Hornets that came out victorious. It marked the team's second three-game sweep of the season, and first since sweeping Canisius in the season opener on Aug. 30 at the Nest.
Sacramento State dominated throughout, finishing with a .400 hitting percentage, comprised of 46 kills and just eight errors in 95 attacks. Conversely, Alabama State posted just 29 kills with a .109 hitting percentage. The Hornets also had 46 digs and five aces
Plenty of Sacramento State players had big matches, including Andrews who had eight kills, two blocks and a career-high tying .500 hitting percentage. Hayden had nine kills, six digs and a .400 hitting percentage, and Subbert posted nine kills, two blocks and a .467 hitting percentage.
Davis registered her second straight, and fifth double-double of the year with 10 kills and 10 digs to go along with a pair of aces. Falk had a career-high seven kills and a .385 hitting percentage, and Olin posted 33 assists, 13 digs, two aces, and two kills in two swings. Taynton had nine digs.
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