RENO, Nev. — Sacramento State improved its winning streak to six straight matches after winning yet another match away from home. This time, the Hornets beat Nevada, 3-1 (25-22, 21-25, 25-19, 25-23), in the first round of the Wolf Pack Volleyball Invitational on Thursday evening at Virginia Street Gym.
The streak began last week with a five-set win over UC Davis, and has also included a five set victory against Bowling Green, and four-set wins over Northern Kentucky, Seattle, San Francisco and Nevada. The six-game winning streak is the third longest for the team in the last five years, trailing a 12-match streak in 2015 and nine-match streak a year ago.
In addition, the Hornets improved to 9-5 overall and 8-4 away from home. Sacramento State has won three straight when playing on an opponent's home floor and is now 3-2 in road matches (5-2 at neutral sites).
The Hornets will play the second round of the tournament tomorrow against Pepperdine at 4 p.m., and Saturday against Missouri at 10 a.m.
Nevada dropped to 2-8 with the loss. Sacramento State is now 35-12 all-time against the Wolf Pack, and 11-10 when playing in Reno. Prior to tonight, the Hornets hadn't won in Reno since Sept. 5, 2006.
Sacramento State's defense continues to come through as Nevada was limited to just a .179 hitting percentage. That includes 27 errors in 156 attacks. During the winning streak, the Hornets have now limited five opponents to hitting percentages below .185. The Hornets had 62 digs tonight, including 17 apiece from libero Brigitte Murdock and outside hitter Shannon Boyle, and 10 each from setter Kennedy Kurtz and outside hitter Mikaela Nocetti.
Nevada had more kills (55-54), aces (7-5), digs (72-62) and team blocks (10.0-6.0) than the Hornets, but Sacramento State seemed to win every big point. The Hornets closed the first set on a 5-2 run after the score had been tied at 20-20, and in the fourth set, a Boyle kill at 24-23 put things away.
Both Hornet outside hitters had double-doubles this evening, inducing Nocetti (16 kills, 10 digs) and Boyle (14 kills, 17 digs, 3 aces). In addition, Kurtz notched a double-double with 42 assists and 10 digs to go along with four kills and a .364 hitting percentage. The threesome now take up the top three spots among all Big Sky Conference players in double-doubles, comprised of Boyle (10, 1st), Nocetti (9, 2nd) and Kurtz (8, 3rd).
Middle blocker Brie Gathright had seven kills and a .312 hitting percentage and fellow middle Lana Brown had nine kills, three blocks and a .280 hitting percentage. Murdock had 17 digs, and now has at least 15 digs during every match of the winning streak.
For Nevada, Shayla Hoeft led the way with 20 kills and a .429 hitting percentage while Ayla Fresenius had 15 kills, 18 digs and a .333 hitting percentage.
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