STANFORD, Calif. -- Ogonna Nnamani led all players with 20 kills to pace the third-ranked Stanford Cardinal to a 3-0 (30-21, 30-22, 38-36) victory over the Sacramento State volleyball team in a non-conference match Tuesday evening in Maples Pavilion.
Game three''s combined total of 74 points was the longest game of the season for both teams. Sacramento State saved seven game points and Stanford saved two as consecutive Nnamani kills finally ended the 45-minute game and the match.
With the victory, Stanford improved to 19-2 overall as the team has now won 11 of its last 12 matches. Sacramento State dropped to 16-7 with the team''s only two losses in the last month coming against ranked opponents (the other being a 3-1 loss to 16th-ranked BYU).
Nnamani''s 20 kills came with a .295 hitting percentage as Logan Tom (12 kills, 10 digs) and Tara Conrad (nine kills, .615 hitting percentage) also chipped in to the Cardinal victory.
Sacramento State was led by sophomore Kazmiera Imrie''s nine kills as no Hornet recorded double figures in kills. Junior Jayme Wright (eight kills, team-leading 12 digs) and senior Tasman Dwyer (eight kills, .313 hitting percentage) also chipped in for the Hornets. Sacramento State outblocked Stanford, 8-7, as Imrie, Dwyer and Kelly Voeltz each finished with four block assists.
The match featured a combined 24 service errors as the Hornets finished with 10, including four during the opening stages of the third game. Stanford led Sacramento State in hitting percentage (.328-.219), kills (61-44), assists (57-39) and aces (7-1). The Cardinal hit .516 and .389 in games one and two, respectively, but just .203 in the third game as the Hornets'' block came alive (six team blocks in game three).
The third game featured eight lead changes as the Hornets led, 28-26, before kills by Conrad and Tom knotted the score at 28-28. Both teams then went back and forth the next 17 points before Nnamani''s kill finally ended things. The Hornets'' only game points came at 35-34 and 36-35, as Stanford eventually rattled off three-consecutive points to take game three, 38-36.
In game one, Stanford led from start to finish, quickly jumping out to a 10-3 lead. The Hornets battled back to within five points of the Cardinal lead (11-6), but could no closer the rest of the way. Nnamani led Stanford with five kills as the Cardinal hit .516, recording 19 kills with just three errors in 31 total attacks. The Hornets were led by Wright''s five kills.
Both teams traded points throughout the early stages of game two before Stanford broke open a 9-9 tie by going on a 6-1 run. The Cardinal extended the lead to eight points at 23-15, before the Hornets got back to within four at 25-21. From there, Stanford closed the game on a 5-1 run to win the second frame, 30-22. Nnamani led all players with six kills as the Cardinal hit .389.
The Hornets never had a lead larger than two points in any game during the entire match.
Sacramento State takes to the road for two Big Sky Conference matches this weekend at Montana (Friday, Nov. 2) and Montana State (Saturday, Nov. 3). With four matches left in conference play, two Hornet wins coupled with an Eastern Washington loss will give Sacramento State its fifth-consecutive Big Sky regular season championship. The conference champion hosts the Big Sky Tournament, which takes place Nov. 15-17.