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BOISE, Idaho -- Despite a match-high 17 kills from freshman Morgan Stanley, Sacramento State fell to North Texas, 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 29-27), in the first round of the Courtyard Marriott Bronco Volleyball Classic Friday morning at Bronco Gym.
With the loss, the Hornets dropped to 0-1 at the two-day tournament, and 5-4 overall this season. Sacramento State will play Idaho later today at 12:30 p.m. PDT, and tournament host Boise State tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. PDT.
The Hornets were playing without arguably their best player today as rightside hitter Kayla Beal missed the match with a back injury. In fact, the team started five underclassman in the match, comprised of three freshmen (outside hitter Stanley, middle blocker Courtney Dietrich and libero Lexie Skalbeck) and two sophomores (outside hitter Sloan Lovett and rightside hitter Lauren Aikels).
Of the 10 Hornets that appeared in today's match, seven were underclassmen (four freshmen and three sophomores).
Sacramento State had its opportunities, squandering a 20-15 lead in the first set, and letting two set points slip away in the third set. The Hornets had just two kills less than the Mean Green (43-45) and four more digs (53-49).
"North Texas has some really athletic hitters, and they got it going towards the end of the first set," Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. "We are a young team that is still learning how to fight and push back against the opposition. However, I thought our overall level of play was pretty good especially when you consider we had three freshmen and two sophomores on the floor."
Stanley's 17 kills accompanied a .297 hitting percentage, 12 digs and two blocks. It was the true freshman's third double-double of the season and the kills matched her highest output of the year. Lovett has now tallied double digits in kills in all but two matches this season after finishing with 12 kills and eight digs. Aikels, who started on the right side in place of Beal, finished with nine kills. Four of those kills came in a five-point span towards the end of the third set when she led the Hornets back from a 24-21 deficit to tie at 26-26.
Skalbeck finished with eight digs, and senior Katie Aprile had seven digs. Senior setter Hannah Hettinga had two kills in two attempts as well as 36 assists and a team-best 13 digs. Dietrich finished with two kills, two blocks and a 1.000 hitting percentage.
For North Texas, Carnae Dillard had a team-high 14 kills while Shelby Tamura led all players with 17 digs.
NOTES -- The Hornets are now 0-6 in sets decided by two points or less, and 2-8 in sets decided by three points or less.