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VOLLEYBALL OVERCOMES FIFTH SET DEFICIT TO KNOCK OFF MONTANA
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Junior Desiree Hoyum (17), and freshmen Eryn Kirby (17) and Kelsey Elston (11) each had double figures in kills to lead Sacramento State to a 3-2 victory over Montana (25-21, 24-26, 25-19, 22-25, 15-13) in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Friday evening at Colberg Court.
With the victory, Sacramento State won for the third straight time on its home floor and improved to 5-15 overall and 3-2 in the Big Sky. The Hornets have also won three consecutive conference matches and will look to make it four in a row when they host Montana State tomorrow night at 7 p.m.
In addition, Sacramento State has now won 64 of its last 65 regular-season home matches against Big Sky competition dating back to 1999. The Hornets also improved to 24-4 all-time against Montana, including an 11-2 mark in Sacramento. The Hornets’ 3-2 record moves them into a tie for fourth place in the Big Sky standings, but they sit just one game back of first-place Portland State (5-2).
With the loss, Montana dropped to 7-9 overall and 3-3 in the Big Sky. The Grizzlies also remained winless on the road this year (0-5).
In the fifth and final set, Sacramento State was able to erase a 9-6 deficit, and used combo blocks on the final two points to put the match away. Kirby had four kills in four swings (1.000 hitting percentage), Elston had three blocks, and senior setter Rose Burke had eight assists, three digs and two blocks in the decisive set. Trailing, 13-12, Sacramento State ran off three straight points to win the match on a kill from Hoyum, a combo block from Elston and Hoyum, and a combo block from Elston and Burke, respectively.
Sacramento State also erased a sizeable fifth-set deficit (6-2) in the team’s victory over Weber State last weekend.
“I felt like we played very hard tonight, and showed a lot of heart and character, especially in the fifth set,” Sacramento State first-year head coach Ruben Volta said. “In terms of confidence and where we sit in the conference standings, this was a huge win. The best way to develop confidence is to win the tough matches, and I was proud of the team for doing that tonight.”
Elston posted career highs in kills (11), hitting percentage (team-high .556) and blocks (5). The freshman from Rocklin had just one error in 18 swings and three of her five blocks came in the decisive fifth set. Kirby, a freshman from Yuba City, posted career highs in kills (17), hitting percentage (.366) and digs (16). Both of her aces during the match came in the fifth set on back-to-back points, giving the Hornets a 3-1 lead.
Hoyum had her career-high fourth consecutive double-double as the junior finished with 17 kills and 15 digs. Burke finished with a career-high six kills and a season-high 60 assists, not to mention 17 digs and two blocks. The fourth-year senior has now posted double figures in digs in six of her last eight matches. Senior Brittany Ferguson added nine kills and two blocks, and sophomore Maddison Thivierge also had nine kills.
Five Hornets had double figures in digs, comprised of Burke (17), Kirby (16), Hoyum (15), senior Katie Van Der Wende (15) and junior Melissa Melcher (career-high 11).
Despite the match being close on the scoreboard, Sacramento State had the advantage over Montana in kills (71-60), hitting percentage (.290-.213) and assists (70-57). In fact, the team’s .290 hitting percentage was easily a season high, eclipsing the previous mark of .252 set during the first match of the season against Texas Pan American.
Three Montana players had double figures in kills, comprised of Amy Roberts (17), Jaimie Thibeault (12) and Whitney Hobbs (12). Taryn Wright (local product from Fair Oaks) finished with eight kills, a .667 hitting percentage, 46 assists and seven digs.
After tomorrow night’s contest against Montana State, the Hornets have just 11 matches remaining on the regular season schedule, with four of those coming at home. Tomorrow night, Sacramento State will look to improve upon its 29-5 all-time record against Montana State, including a 16-1 mark at Colberg Court.
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