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VOLLEYBALL OUTLASTS UC DAVIS IN FIVE-SET GRINDER
DAVIS, Calif. – Junior Kelsey Elston had 11 kills, including back-to-back kills after the match was tied at 13-13 in the fifth to help Sacramento State defeat UC Davis, 3-2 (25-23, 25-23, 16-25, 16-25, 15-13), in a non-conference volleyball match Tuesday evening at The Pavilion.
In a match that featured many intense moments and long rallies, Sacramento State out-grinded UC Davis in a two-hour affair.
The Hornets, who were playing their fourth straight match away from home, improved to 6-6 overall. UC Davis, which had won five of its last six, dropped to 5-4 with the loss. The match marked the fifth time this season Sacramento State has gone to five sets, and the team is 3-2 in those outcomes.
Sacramento State continued its ownership of UC Davis in a series which dates back to 1976. In fact, the Hornets moved their record to 50-17 all-time against the Aggies, and have won 14 of the past 15 meetings. The victory also gave Sacramento State 10 points in the Causeway Cup, the annual all-sports competition between the two schools.
Sacramento State erased large deficits early on, including 16-10 in the first set, and 22-19 in the second. In the fifth, the Hornets found themselves down 10-9 before finally pulling the match out. That fifth set featured five lead changes, 12 ties and no team led by more than two points the entire way.
“I was really happy with our composure in front of their home crowd in the fifth, especially after playing so poorly in the third and fourth sets,” Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. “We made the big plays when we needed, and I felt like we were the aggressors in the fifth set.”
Statistically speaking, UC Davis dominated the match, leading the Hornets in every category, including kills (62-54), hitting percentage (.177-.117), assists (62-52), aces (5-0), digs (102-82) and team blocks (14.0-8.0). However, Sacramento State seemed to win every crucial point, including 24-23 in the first, 24-23 in the second and 14-13 in the fifth.
Elston’s 11 kills accompanied a .308 hitting percentage, three digs and two blocks. She tallied three kills in the fifth stanza, none bigger than putdowns at 13-13 and 14-13.
“Kelsey played really well tonight,” Volta said. “She attacked aggressively and that took pressure off our outside hitters.”
Joining Elston with double-figure kills for the Hornets were junior Eryn Kirby (17 kills, nine digs) and sophomore Janelle Currey (14 kills, 15 digs and three blocks). Freshman Kayla Beal chipped in six kills, and Olivia Moss and Anna Schoener both added three. Moss also led all Hornets with five blocks.
Four Hornets finished with double digits in digs, including junior libero Breanne Menees who continued her torrid pace with 28 digs. Menees, who is currently 12th in the nation in digs per set (5.60), has at least 24 digs in five of her last six matches. That included a pair of 32-dig efforts last week. Joining Menees in double figures were Currey (15), Sydney Kordic (14) and setter Katie Aprile (11).
For UC Davis, Betsy Sedlak had 13 kills, a .545 hitting percentage (13-1-22) and seven blocks. Melanie Adams chipped in 17 kills and 15 digs, and Katie Denny had eight kills, two aces and six blocks.
Sacramento State returns to action this weekend for a tournament in Fresno. The Hornets will play Cal State Bakersfield on Friday, and both host Fresno State and seventh-ranked USC on Saturday.
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