VOLLEYBALL WINS AT MONTANA STATE; NOCETTI SECURES 1,000TH CAREER KILL

VOLLEYBALL WINS AT MONTANA STATE; NOCETTI SECURES 1,000TH CAREER KILL

Big Sky Conference standings

BOZEMAN, Mont. — Sacramento State had a season-high tying 15 blocks, and outside hitter Sarah Davis poured in a career-best 17 kills as the Hornets posted a four-set road win at Montana State (18-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-21) on Saturday evening at Shroyer Gym.

In addition, senior outside hitter and team co-captain Mikaela Nocetti picked up her 1,000th career kill. Nocetti, who is in her third season with the Hornets after transferring from Portland, now has 1,002 career kills. She becomes the 23rd Hornet in the last 35 years to achieve the milestone. After securing 273 kills as a sophomore, she posted 496 a year ago, and already has 233 this season.

The victory allowed Sacramento State (6-10, 1-1) to split its first two Big Sky Conference matches of the season, which included a five-set loss at Montana on Thursday night. The Hornets continued their remarkable ownership against Montana State, improving to 45-6 in the all-time series. That includes 12 straight wins, and 25 of the last 26 against the Bobcats.

Montana State (6-7, 1-1) was coming off a win over Portland State to open league play, and had won three straight prior to tonight's loss.

Defensively, with the help of the 15 team blocks, Sacramento State limited MSU to a .152 hitting percentage. That included an .051 mark in the second, .161 in the third and .100 in the fourth. Five different Hornets had at least three blocks, comprised of Lana Brown (6), Ashtin Olin (5), Brie Gathright (5), Cianna Andrews (3) and Davis (3).

While the Montana State offense sputtered, Sacramento State's offense continued to get better. After hitting .109 in the first set, the Hornets hit .205 in the second, .462 in the third and .286 in the fourth. The team's .242 hitting percentage was the third highest output of the season. The Hornets were dominant during the final three sets as Montana State's largest lead over that span was a 1-0 advantage at the beginning fo the third frame.

"We did a nice job of serving them out of system and neutralizing their middles a bit," Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. "We played really well over the final three sets - we had a nice rhythm, attacked well and played very good defense. I thought Ashtin (Olin) set one of her best matches of the season, and our offense was really clicking. After our loss on Thursday, I was proud of the way we responded tonight in front of a large crowd that was very loud in the Bobcats' favor."

Davis' 17 kills surpassed her previous career best of 16, set on three occasions. After just three kills and a .067 hitting percentage in the first set, Davis was on fire the rest of the way, combining for 14 kills and a .281 percentage the remaining three frames. The team co-captain also had 10 digs for her sixth double-double of the season.

Fellow outside hitter Nocetti also had 17 kills while tacking on three aces, seven digs and a .240 hitting percentage. Playing on two badly bruised shins after colliding into bleachers tracking down a ball on Thursday night, Nocetti now has at least 13 kills in four straight matches, and has tallied double digits in kills in all but three matches this year.

Olin absolutely stuffed the stat sheet tonight, figuring largely into every facet of volleyball this evening. The redshirt freshman had five kills, a .400 hitting percentage, 46 assists, two aces, nine digs and five blocks. Both middle blockers played well as Brown had eight kills (with zero errors), a .471 hitting percentage and six blocks, and Gathright added four kills, a .308 hitting percentage and five blocks. Rightside hitter Cianna Andrews had a career-best 11 digs after never totaling more than two digs in a match in her career.

Libero Paige Swiney had a team-high 16 digs and Skyler Takeda added five digs and an ace.

Montana State's Allyssa Rizzo led everyone with 32 digs, and Natalie Passeck had 11 kills and a .323 hitting percentage but was the only MSU starter to hit better than .174.

After two weeks on the road, Sacramento State is back at home next for matches on Thursday vs. Southern Utah and Saturday vs. Northern Arizona. Both will begin at 7 p.m.