VOLLEYBALL SPLITS FINAL TWO MATCHES AT VALPARAISO TOURNAMENT

VOLLEYBALL SPLITS FINAL TWO MATCHES AT VALPARAISO TOURNAMENT

VALPARAISO, Ind. – Sacramento State split a pair of matches on the final day of the Valparaiso Volleyball Classic on Saturday at the ARC. The Hornets opened the day by falling to host Valparaiso, 3-0 (25-23, 26-24, 25-15), before coming back later to defeat Murray State, 3-1 (16-25, 25-10, 25-20, 25-23).

The Hornets (5-10 overall) conclude the two-day tournament with a 1-2 record as Sacramento State fell to George Washington yesterday evening. The Hornets finished the tournament averaging 11.00 kills, 15.10 digs and 2.70 blocks per set, but combined to hit just .114 over the three matches.

Sophomore middle blocker Courtney Dietrich was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 1.60 kills and 1.70 blocks, including 17 total blocks over three matches.

In the victory over Murray State (9-3), the Hornets dropped the first set, and then proceeded to outscore the Racers, 75-53, over the final three frames. Murray State hit just .070, the lowest hitting percentage of any Sacramento State opponent this season. The Racers had 42 kills with a robust 32 errors in 143 total attacks. The Hornets finished with 15.0 team blocks, 14 of which came during the final three sets of the match.

With the Hornets leading, 2-1, the fourth set came down to the wire as Sacramento State held a 24-23 lead before an Alyssa Lelm attack error ended the match.

Sacramento State was led by junior Sloan Lovett, who finished with a match-best 12 kills to go with three blocks. Lovett had missed two matches with an ankle injury (including yesterday against George Washington) before coming back to play in both matches today. Dietrich added nine kills and nine blocks, freshman setter Kennedy Kurtz had four kills, 38 assists, three aces, nine digs and two blocks, and middle blocker Madeline Cannon tallied nine kills and five blocks.

Outside hitter Lauren Aikels had five kills and seven digs, Julia Wright posted a season-high 14 digs, Lexie Skalbeck had 11 digs and rightside hitter Shannon Boyle had four kills and five blocks. Freshman Brigitte Murdock added seven digs.

For Murray State, Scottie Ingram had 10 kills while Ellie Lorenz had a match-best 25 digs.

In the match against Valparaiso, the Hornets limited the Crusaders to a .160 hitting percentage but Sacramento State hit just .096 and failed to record a service ace for the first time all season. The Hornets committed seven service errors, including a crucial miscue at 23-24 of the first set to give Valparaiso the victorious frame.

In that first set, Sacramento State had stormed back from a 24-20 deficit by ripping off three straight points on a kill from Lovett, a Valpo attack error, and a kill from Morgan Stanley before the service error. The second set was just as close as the Hornets had a set point after a Boyle kill gave Sacramento State a 24-23 lead. However, the Crusaders finished the set on a 3-0 run, punctuated by an Emily Campbell kill at set point.

Valparaiso jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the third set and never looked back. Sacramento State had one more kill than Valpo (35-34) and both teams had the same amount of digs (48) and team blocks (8.0), but Valpo had seven aces compared to none for the Hornets.

Lovett led the team with 11 kills while Dietrich added five kills, seven digs, seven blocks and a .429 hitting percentage and Murdock had 11 digs. Kurtz had 33 assists, eight digs and three blocks.

For Valpo, Allison Ketcham had 11 kills and 11 digs, and was the only player in the match with a double-double. Morganne Longoria led all players with 12 digs and Kelsey Berrington had three aces and three blocks.

Sacramento State returns to action next week when the team opens Big Sky Conference play on the road against Southern Utah on Thursday and Northern Arizona on Saturday. After the match at NAU, the Hornets will play four straight matches at home.