SACRAMENTO -- Montana State had 15 aces and limited Sacramento State to a .142 hitting percentage on the way to a 3-1 victory (25-20, 24-26, 25-19, 25-8) over the Hornets in the Big Sky Conference Tournament quarterfinals on Thursday evening inside the Nest.
The Bobcats, who are the No. 4 seed at the tournament, will now advance to the semifinals to take on No. 1 seed Northern Colorado tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Northern Colorado defeated No. 8 Montana in four sets to advance to the semifinal round. In fact, the higher seed won all four quarterfinal matches. Other results from today included No. 2 Weber State defeating No. 7 Southern Utah (3-0), and No. 3 Northern Arizona beating No. 6 Idaho by a 3-2 score.
Semifinal matches for tomorrow will see Weber State taking on Northern Arizona at 4:30 p.m., followed by Montana State-Northern Colorado at 7 p.m. The winners of those two matches will square off for the conference championship on Saturday at 7 p.m. The winner of the championship receives an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Northern Arizona is the defending Big Sky Tournament champion.
For tournament information, including schedule, ticket information, brackets and much more, please click here for the tournament home page.
Sacramento State sees its season come to a close with a 14-18 overall record, and had its lengthy home winning streak against Montana State snapped. Prior to this evening, the Hornets had won 23 consecutive home matches against the Bobcats, a streak which dated back to 1997. In addition, Sacramento State had won all six Big Sky Tournament matches against Montana State prior to today.
Montana State, which beat Sacramento State in the regular season in five sets in Bozeman (19-17 in the 5th) in the teams' only regular season tilt, improved to 15-13 with the victory.
The biggest difference in tonight's loss was the service line where Montana State had 15 aces while the Hornets finished with zero. While Sacramento State routinely had trouble passing, the Bobcats were also able to take advantage of eight Sacramento State service errors.
The Hornets had more kills (53-42), assists (50-38) and digs (75-62), but Montana State hit .207 while the Hornets hit just .142.
For Sacramento State, outside hitter Sarah Davis led the way with 16 kills, 17 digs and four blocks, and fellow outside hitter Macey Hayden had 10 kills, nine digs and three blocks. Middle blocker Sarah Falk had a career-high tying eight kills to go with three blocks and a career-best .571 hitting percentage (8-0-14).
Middle blocker Cianna Andrews had nine kills and a team-high six blocks, and rightside hitter Kayla Subbert finished with six kills. Setter Ashtin Olin had 47 assists and a match-best 18 digs, and defensive specialists Michelle Taynton (11), Paige Swinney (8) and Caty Cordon (6) combined for 25 digs. Freshman Tiyanane Kamba-Griffin had three kills.
Montana State's Allyssa Rizzo, who was named the Big Sky's Libero of the Year last night, was incredible. She passed well while finishing with four aces and 20 digs. Kira Thomsen had 12 kills, six aces and seven digs, and Evi Wilson posted 11 kills, 12 digs and a .370 hitting percentage.
Tonight marked the final match in the brilliant career of Hornet senior outside hitter Sarah Davis. Currently ranked seventh in the nation in total kills, she finished the season with 542 kills and a Big Sky-leading 4.17 kills per set. For her career, she tallied 1,117 career kills and 608 digs.
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