DENVER -- Sacramento State limited McNeese State to a .090 hitting percentage on the way to a 3-1 victory (26-24, 25-16, 15-25, 25-13) over the Cowboys in the first round of the Denver Volleyball Classic on Friday afternoon at Hamilton Gym.
Today marked the first of three matches over two days at the tournament, as Sacramento State (2-3) returns to action tomorrow to take on both UC Santa Barbara at 9 a.m. PDT, and host Denver at 6 p.m. PDT. The Hornets were playing McNeese State for the first time ever, as the Cowboys dropped to 0-4 on the young season.
In both victories this season (Utah State .060), the Hornets have held their opponent to a hitting percentage below .100. Today, McNeese State had just 39 kills with 27 errors in 134 attacks. Sacramento State produced 61 digs and 10.0 team blocks, the fourth time in five matches the Hornets have recorded double figures in team blocks.
Sacramento State held sizable statistical advantages over McNeese State in kills (51-39), hitting percentage (.217-.090), assists (50-36), digs (61-54) and team blocks (10.0-6.0). The only set that was close came in the first when the Hornets erased a 24-22 deficit by saving two set points on the way to a game-closing 4-0 run. Sarah Davis had one of her team-best 16 kills at 22-24, and Mikaela Nocetti had one of her 11 kills at 24-24. The 16 kills for Davis tied a career high that she set last year in the Big Sky Tournament semifinal win over Portland State.
Davis (16 kills, 10 digs) and freshman setter Ashtin Olin (37 assists, 12 digs) both had double-doubles for the Hornets. Ashtin was just three kills shy of a triple-double after also finishing with seven kills, a .667 hitting percentage, an ace and four blocks. Sophomore rightside hitter Cianna Andrews set her career high with nine kills while also finishing with two blocks and a .316 hitting percentage.
Libero Paige Swinney posted a match-best 19 digs, middle blocker Lana Brown had five kills and five blocks, Skyler Takeda finished with eight digs and a pair of aces, and Brie Gathright had two kills, four digs and three blocks. Brown now has at least five blocks in every match this season, and leads the team with a healthy average of 1.45 blocks per set.
The Hornets played three freshmen in today's match, including Olin, Sarah Falk and Paige Calvin. In her first collegiate match after redshirting a year ago, Falk had a kill and a block during the third set.
For McNeese State, Katelyn Elliott had 10 kills, a .368 hitting percentage and five blocks, and was the only Cowboy with double figures in kills.
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