SACRAMENTO — Sacramento State saved a pair of match points in the fifth set, and rode the right arms of Sarah Davis (31 kills) and Cianna Andrews (21 kills) to beat Northern Arizona, 3-2 (22-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-27, 18-16), on Saturday afternoon inside the Nest.
Sacramento State, which dominated the match statistically, saved match points in the 5th frame at 13-14 and 14-15, and then saw NAU save a match point after the Hornets took a 16-15 lead. However, with the score tied at 16-16, it was Davis who connected on two consecutive kills to end a wild and thrilling fifth set.
In that fifth frame, no team led by more than two points the entire way, and featured multiple lengthy rallies. Davis had six kills in the fifth, and Andrews added five. At 13-14, Sarah Falk and Macey Hayden combined on a huge block to keep the Hornets alive, and a Davis kill turned back the match point at 14-15.
Davis has now established a new career high in kills in three straight matches, and today's 31 kills are tied for 10th most in the Hornets' Div. I era (1991-pres.). Andrews' 21 kills surpassed her previous career best of 15, set earlier this year vs. CSU Bakersfield.
Sacramento State, which has now played in three consecutive five-set matches, improved to 7-10 overall and 2-2 in league play. The Hornets continued their dominance of Northern Arizona at home, improving to 25-1 all-time against NAU at Colberg Court. The series between the two teams has now seen the home team win each of the last 17 matchups.
The Lumberjacks, who are the reigning Big Sky regular season and tournament champions, dropped to 9-7 overall and 2-2 in league. NAU was selected to repeat as conference champs in the preseason coaches poll.
In that fifth set, the largest lead for either team was 4-2 by the Lumberjacks. Both teams would then battle back and forth the rest of the way in a frame that featured 14 ties and six lead changes. Sacramento State overcame three service errors in the set by accounting for 15 kills to the Lumberjacks' six.
The Hornets finished with a whopping 33 more kills than NAU (79-46). What kept the Lumberjacks close were 18 Hornet service errors, including some crucial errors late in the first and fourth sets. However, Sacramento State did have 12 aces, 89 digs and nine team blocks. In addition, the Hornets hit .246 as a team while limiting the Lumberjacks to a .193 mark.
Davis (31) and Andrews (21) accounted for 52 of the Hornets' 79 kills. Davis took 90 swings, hit .267 and also finished with four aces, 12 digs and two blocks. Andrews' 21 kills accompanied a .444 hitting percentage and career-high tying seven blocks.
Falk, who's block at 13-14 of the fifth set was one of the biggest plays of the match, finished with seven kills, a pair of blocks and a .462 hitting percentage. Hayden had seven kills and 11 digs, and Kayla Subbert posted five kills, three aces and three blocks.
Setter Ashtin Olin established a new career high for assists (65) while also registering two kills, two aces and 18 digs. Michelle Taynton had a season-best 26 digs, Claudia Wilson had six kills and five digs, and both McKenna Smith and Paige Swinney had six digs.
The Hornets are back in action next week for a pair of road matches at Idaho State on Thursday at 6 p.m. PDT, and Weber State on Saturday at noon PDT.
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