WINNING STREAK AT FOUR AS VOLLEYBALL BEATS SOUTHERN UTAH
CEDAR CITY, Utah -- Sacramento State's Kayla Beal (15 kills, 13 digs) and Morgan Stanley (13 kills, 10 digs) each posted double-doubles to lead the Hornets to a 3-1 victory (25-20, 25-18, 21-25, 28-26) over Southern Utah in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Thursday evening at Centrum Arena.
The win for the Hornets (13-11, 8-5) was their fourth straight, and allowed the team to remain in a tie for fifth place in the league standings with Montana. With just seven matches remaining in the regular season, Sacramento State sits a half game back of fourth-place Idaho State (8-4) and 1.5 games back of second-place Northern Arizona (9-3) and Portland State (9-3). The top six teams in 11-member league advance to the Big Sky Tournament at the conclusion of the regular season.
The win also gave the Hornets a season sweep of Southern Utah (2-22, 1-12), which included a three-set victory on Sept. 28 in Sacramento. In addition, the Hornets have now matched their conference win total from all of last season when they finished 8-12 in league.
Beal's 15 kills were a match high, the 13 digs were her career high, and she also finished with a .300 hitting percentage and four blocks. The senior co-captain accounted for numerous clutch points in the match, which included a fourth set where she totalled five kills. In fact, with the Hornets facing a set point at 25-26, Beal began a run which saw her tally kills on back-to-back points to put the team back up, 27-26, before combining on a block with Courtney Dietrich on match point to cement the win.
"It's always nice to win on the road," Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. "We began the match blocking well and playing good defense. But Southern Utah really started to play well, and we had to respond. I thought Kayla (Beal) played exceptional tonight, and really scored some points at crucial times in the match."
Both teams hit for a similar percentage (SAC .204; SUU .197), but the Hornets had nine more kills than the Thunderbirds while also tallying four aces compared to just one for Southern Utah. The T-Birds were limited to sub .200 hitting percentages in each of the first, second and fourth frames.
For Stanley, the double-double was her second straight, and sixth overall this season. Joining Beal and Stanley with double figures in kills was Sloan Lovett who finished with 11. Middle blocker Chelcy Motes had seven kills, three blocks and a .357 hitting percentage, setter Hannah Hettinga added four kills, nine digs, 52 assists and a .571 hitting percentage, and Dietrich finished with a team-high five blocks. Hettinga now has 40-plus assists in four straight matches, the longest stretch of her career.
Lauren Aikels had four kills and a .300 hitting percentage, libero Katie Aprile had a match-high 22 digs and Lexie Skalbeck finished with two aces and seven digs.
Southern Utah was led by Kylie Schofield (14 kills) and Lusia Angilau (11 kills, 11 blocks, .400 hitting percentage).
Tonight marked the first of a four-match road trip for Sacramento State that will see the team return to the court on Saturday night at Northern Arizona.