SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Anna Pioske had a match-best 15 kills and North Dakota hit .336 on the way to a 3-1 victory (23-25, 25-16, 25-17, 25-18) over Sacramento State in a Big Sky Conference volleyball matchup Saturday afternoon at Colberg Court.
The loss for the Hornets (8-9, 3-3) snapped an overall three-match winning streak, and a five-match winning streak against conference opponents at home dating back to last season. Today also concluded a season-high tying four-match homestand in which the Hornets went 3-1.
North Dakota (10-7, 5-0) remained undefeated in conference play, and has won all three meetings against the Hornets since UND joined the Big Sky last season.
The Hornets will play twice on the road next week at Weber State and Idaho State before beginning another four-match homestand against Montana on Oct. 18.
After overcoming a 14-8 deficit to win the first set, Sacramento State had trouble with North Dakota's serve the final three frames. Although UND finished the match with just six aces, the Hornets did not pass well, which made it difficult to run an efficient offense. In fact, after the Hornets hit .326 in the first set, they hit .172, .059 and .233, respectively, in the final three frames. They finished the match hitting .206, the first time in four matches the team did not hit better than .300.
North Dakota, meanwhile, was attacking the ball well, hitting better than .400 in both the second and fourth frames. UND's overall hitting percentage of .336 was the fourth highest of the season by a Hornet opponent, and all six UND starters hit at least .276, including five over the .300 mark.
"North Dakota attacked and served tough, and really slowed our offense down. I felt that was the difference in the match," Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. "Overall, we played well during the homestand, and I'm proud of the way our team continues to improve."
North Dakota had 20 more kills (65-45) and 13 more digs (64-51) than the Hornets. The only player with double figures in kills for Sacramento State was sophomore Sloan Lovett, who finished with 12 kills. Four other players finished with at least six kills, including freshman Courtney Dietrich (eight kills, .333 hitting percentage), senior Chelcy Motes (eight kills, .500 hitting percentage, and match-best eight blocks), freshman Morgan Stanley (seven kills, 10 digs) and rightside hitter Kayla Beal (six kills).
For Motes, it marked the third time in the last four matches the middle blocker has hit at least .500. Her eight blocks were a season best, and her four solo stuffs were a career high. Hornet libero Katie Aprile had 19 digs, and setter Hannah Hettinga finished with two kills, a .667 hitting percentage, 37 assists, seven digs and three blocks.
For North Dakota, Pioske (15 kills, .333), Ronni Munkeby (15 kills, six blocks) and Lexi Robinson (12 kills, .333) each finished with double figures in kills. Lauren Clarke led all players with 22 digs.
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