SACRAMENTO — Despite a career-high 28 kills from outside hitter Sarah Davis, Sacramento State squandered a pair of late leads in the first and second sets, and eventually fell in five to Southern Utah (25-23, 27-25, 20-25, 16-25, 15-7), on Thursday evening inside the Nest.
The Hornets, who recently concluded a 12-game road trip that stretched through the entire month of September, fell to 6-10 overall and 1-2 in the Big Sky Conference. Sacramento State had won five straight matches in the series against Southern Utah, and four straight vs. the Thunderbirds inside the Nest. Southern Utah, which seemingly won every huge point, improved to 9-6 overall and 2-1 in conference play.
Sacramento State had chances to win the match in three, but could not close out a tight set in victorious fashion. The Hornets squandered a 22-21 advantage in the first set, and 24-21 in the second set. Sacramento State won the third and fourth sets handily before Southern Utah opened the fifth on an 8-4 run and never looked back.
Passing was a problem for the Hornets this evening as Southern Utah had 14 aces and was able to serve Sacramento State out of system on numerous occasions. The Thunderbirds' serving and 16.0 team blocks helped offset a huge advantage for the Hornets in kills (65-52). In addition, Sacramento State hit better (.234-.208) and had more digs (68-62). The Hornets did have a season-best nine aces and 14.0 team blocks (second most this year).
Davis had a huge match for the Hornets. The lone senior and team co-captain finished with 28 kills, surpassing her previous career best of 24, set last Saturday at Idaho. In the last two matches alone, Davis has combined for 52 kills.
Both Hornet middle blockers played well as Cianna Andrews had 12 kills, a career-high tying seven blocks and a .381 hitting percentage. Sarah Falk tied her career highs in kills (8) and blocks (6) while hitting a match-best .471. Setter Ashtin Olin posted four kills, a .429 hitting percentage, 55 assists, three aces, 12 digs and five blocks.
Rightside hitter Kayla Subbert added six kills and five blocks, and outside hitter Macey Hayden had seven kills, 15 digs and three blocks. Both Hayden and Subbert also had two aces apiece. Libero Michelle Taynton posted a match-high 17 digs and Paige Swinney added 13 digs.
For Southern Utah, Stacey Hone had 15 kills and a .344 hitting percentage, including three kills in four swings during the fifth set. Shannon Webb added 17 kills and 12 digs, and had two kills on two swings in the fifth. Setter Corrin Peterson had four kills, a .500 hitting percentage, six aces, eight digs and eight blocks, not far off a triple-double.
The Hornets were playing the first in a stretch that will see the team play seven of 10 matches at home. That includes Saturday afternoon against Northern Arizona at 1 p.m. That is part of an athletics tripleheader on the Sacramento State campus that also features Men's Soccer playing UC Davis at 3 p.m., and Football taking on Eastern Washington at 6 p.m.
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