VOLLEYBALL FALLS IN FOUR SETS AT MONTANA

VOLLEYBALL FALLS IN FOUR SETS AT MONTANA

MISSOULA, Mont. -- Montana's Capri Richardson (20), Janell Sparks (13) and Claire McCown (13) each posted double figures in kills to lead the Grizzlies to a 3-1 victory (25-16, 25-21, 25-27, 25-23) over Sacramento State in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Saturday evening at West Auxiliary Gym.

The Hornets were searching for the sweep of the Montana schools after beating Montana State in Bozeman last night. However, the Hornets quickly fell down, 2-0, in sets, and the team's comeback effort fell just short.

In fact, in the third set, Sacramento State saved a match point at 24-25 by winning each of the frame's final three points on a kill from setter Kennedy Kurtz, followed by a Kurtz ace and an attack error by McCown.

In the fourth set, neither team led by more than three points the entire way as Sacramento State had a 22-21 lead before Montana ripped off the next three points to take a 24-22 lead. The Hornets saved another match point on a kill from Madeline Cannon to cut the deficit to 24-23. However, a kill from Sparks gave Montana the 25-23 win in the fourth set and the victory.

With the win, Montana improved to 5-17 overall and 5-5 in the Big Sky. The Hornets dropped to 6-19 and 1-9 in the conference. Sacramento State has now dropped seven straight matches against the Grizzlies when the two teams ply in Missoula. The last victory for the Hornets in Missoula came during the 2007 season.

Montana had the upper hand against the Hornets statistically in kills (60-47), hitting percentage (.220-.110), assists (54-45), digs (81-65) and team blocks (10.5-7.0). One night after committing a season-low one service error, Sacramento State committed 10 miscues on the service line tonight.

The Grizzlies' Richardson was the best player on the floor all evening as she finished with match highs in kills (20), hitting percentage (.417) and blocks (8). That included a fourth set in which she had five kills without an error in eight attacks. The trio of Richardson, McCown and Sparks combined for 46 of the team's 60 kills.

Sacramento State had three players finish with double figures in kills, comprised of Cannon (12 kills, three blocks, .304 hitting percentage), Lauren Kissell (11 kills) and Morgan Stanley (10 kills, 13 digs, three blocks). For Stanley, who was playing on the right side for the third time this season, she now has double-doubles in two straight and four of the last six matches. Only four Sacramento State players had more than two kills as outside hitter Sloan Lovett finished with seven kills, five digs and two blocks.

Kurtz had 42 assists, 13 digs and a season-best four aces, libero Lexie Skalbeck had a team-high 15 digs, Lauren Aikels finished with two kills and a .500 hitting percentage, and Julia Wright chipped in six digs.

The Hornets return to action next week for a pair of matches, the first of which will come at home on Thursday against North Dakota at 7 p.m., followed by a road matchup at Portland State at noon on Saturday.