MISSOURI STATE STORMS BACK TO DEFEAT VOLLEYBALL IN THE WYNN INVITATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Sara Thomas had a team-best 19 kills, including five in the fifth game, to lead Missouri State back from a two-game deficit and defeat Sacramento State, 3-2 (16-30, 27-30, 30-27, 30-23, 15-11), in the Mary Jo Wynn Volleyball Invitational championship match Saturday night at the Hammons Center.
The loss for Sacramento State marked the first time since Sept. 7, 2001 (at Fresno State) that the Hornets lost a match after winning the first two games. Sacramento State concluded the tournament with a 3-1 record after defeating Delaware State and Tulsa yesterday, and UMKC earlier this morning. Missouri State, which advanced to the second round of last year’s NCAA Tournament, completed the tournament with a perfect 4-0 record and captured its ninth consecutive Wynn Invitational title.
Thomas was named the tournament MVP for her efforts. Sacramento State’s two representatives on the all-tournament team were senior outside hitter Jennifer Ferguson and senior middle hitter Lindsay Haupt. Ferguson had at least 13 kills in all four matches while finishing with averages of 4.06 kills and 3.50 digs per game. Haupt had at least 11 kills in each match while finishing with averages of 3.06 kills and 0.81 blocks per game to go along with a .342 hitting percentage.
After limiting Missouri State to a combined .000 hitting percentage (24-24-99) during the first two games of the match, Sacramento State’s usually steady defense faltered during the final three games. In fact, Bears hit .333 (50-11-117) during the final three games, including a .486 mark during the fourth-game victory.
The Hornets had an opportunity to complete the three-game sweep as a service ace from senior Missie Stidham tied the score at 26-26 in the third game. Missouri State, however, captured four of the game’s next five points to win the frame. The Bears never trailed in the fifth game, opening up a lead as large as 10-6. Thomas’ five kills in the game came with just one error in seven attacks (.571) as she tallied the match-clinching kill as well.
The Hornets (3-1), who are currently in the midst of an eight-match, 11-day road trip that will take the team to the United States’ Midwest and the South, hit .176 (65-30-199) with 91 digs and 10.5 team blocks. Missouri State finished the match with a .181 hitting percentage (74-35-216), 91 digs and 16.0 team blocks. Both Thomas and Patrick finished with a match-high seven blocks. The Hornets’ lowest hitting percentage came in game five where the team hit just .111.
Sacramento State had four players finish with double figures in kills, comprised of Stidham (19 kills, team-best 24 digs), Jennifer Ferguson (14 kills, 16 digs, three blocks), Lindsay Haupt (13 kills, four blocks, career-high seven digs) and Michelle Franz (12 kills, five blocks, team-high .370 hitting percentage). Sophomore setter Rose Burke had 53 assists, nine digs, four blocks and two aces, and freshman Chelsea Goodsell added 19 digs.
Joining Thomas with double-figure kills for Missouri State were Jamie Adams (17) and Patrick (10). Fifteen of Thomas' 19 kills came during games three, four and five.
Sacramento State resumes its road trip on Tuesday, Aug. 28, when the team faces Ole Miss at 5 p.m. PDT.