CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In a tightly contested match that featured all four sets going down to the wire, Morgan State squeaked out a 3-1 victory (25-22, 23-25, 25-23, 25-23) over Sacramento State in the third round of the Charlotte Volleyball Invitational Saturday morning.
In a match which began at 6:30 a.m. pacific time, Morgan State (1-2) used a 6-2 run at the end of the third set and a 6-3 run at the end of the fourth to pull out the win. Sacramento State is 1-2 at the season-opening, two-day tournament, which includes a win over ETSU and a loss to UNCG yesterday. The Hornets will conclude the tournament later this evening against host Charlotte at 4 p.m. PDT. Free live video of the match can be obtained by clicking here.
After splitting the first two sets, the Hornets squandered a 21-19 lead in the third set and a 20-19 lead in the fourth frame. The Bears hit for a higher percentage than Sacramento State (.279-.167) while also holding advantages in kills (60-45) and digs (58-51). The Hornets did have 11 aces, including five from libero Lexie Skalbeck.
Of the team's six starters and libero, the Hornets used two freshmen and four sophomores. One of those sophomores, Madeline Cannon, finished with a team-high tying 13 kills to go along with five blocks and a .286 hitting percentage. Junior outside hitter and team captain Sloan Lovett finished with 13 kills and a team-best .391 hitting percentage. Sophomore outside hitter Morgan Stanley finished with seven kills, including the kill that gave the Hornets the 25-23 win in the second frame.
Of the Hornets' 10 aces, five came from Skalbeck and three from freshman setter Kennedy Kurtz. Skalbeck also had a career-high 22 digs as she started her second straight match at libero. Freshman Brigitte Murdock added 10 digs to round out the two Hornets with double figures in digs.
Kurtz also had 42 assists and eight digs to go with her three aces. Freshman rightside hitter Shannon Boyle chipped in six kills, three digs, a block and a .333 hitting percentage.
For Morgan State, Samantha Prescott had 16 kills and a .379 hitting percentage, Zuri Smith 13 kills and a match-best .550 hitting percentage and Arianna Hayden added 11 kills and a .348 percentage. It was kills from Dinah Jones and Carmen Fernandez, respectively, that gave Morgan State the 25-23 wins in the third and fourth sets.