Big Sky Conference standings
SACRAMENTO -- Senior Mikaela Nocetti finished with 21 kills (two shy of her career high) to help lead Sacramento State to a three-set sweep (25-23, 25-21, 25-22) of Idaho State on Thursday evening at the Nest.
The victory kicked off a season-high tying four-game homestand and came against an Idaho State squad that had been tied for first place in the Big Sky Conference standings. Sacramento State (10-11, 5-2) extended its dominance of Big Sky opponents inside the Nest, as the Hornets have now won 27 consecutive regular season matches at home in league play. That streak dates all the way back to the beginning of the 2015 season.
Idaho State had won six of its last seven, but dropped to 11-9 and 5-2 with tonight's loss. This evening marked the first of two this week for the Hornets against teams that were tied for first place in the league standings. Sacramento State will also play Saturday night (7 p.m.) against a Weber State team that is now 6-1 in conference after winning tonight at Portland State in five sets.
Overall, Sacramento State has won five of its last six matches, and improved to 3-0 at home against league foes. The Hornets are now 33-13 all-time against the Bengals, and have won each of the last six meetings in the series between the two teams. Sacramento State is also 18-5 when playing Idaho State at home.
All three sets were relatively close, including a first set in which the Hornets finished on an 8-3 run after trailing, 20-17. With the scored tied at 23-23, an ISU attack error followed by a combo block from Cianna Andrews and Lana Brown gave Sacramento State the victory.
The Hornets closed the second set on a 15-6 run after trailing, 15-10. Brie Gathright sparked the run as the middle blocker had three digs in a long rally at 19-19 that eventually gave the Hornets a 20-19 lead. Gathright then stepped to the service line and ripped off two straight aces to give Sacramento State a 22-19 advantage.
In the third, the Hornets used an 18-8 run to take a commanding 20-14 lead and, fittingly, a Nocetti kill ended the set, 25-22, and gave Sacramento State the win. Despite the match lasting just three sets, Nocetti, a senior co-captain, finished with 21 kills, a .288 hitting percentage and six digs. Her 21 kills were two shy of a career high, which she set last season at Eastern Washington.
In a match where Sacramento State used just eight players, the Hornets had 11 more kills than Idaho State while limiting the Bengals to a .213 hitting percentage. Sarah Davis finished with 11 kills and 10 digs, and Gathright had five kills, four digs, two aces, four blocks and a .333 hitting percentage.
Andrews chipped in five kills and a pair of blocks, and Brown had three kills, two blocks and a .429 hitting percentage. Setter Ashtin Olin had 37 assists, eight digs and three blocks, and Paige Swinney had a team-high 15 digs. Skyler Takeda had six digs and tacked on two more aces, bringing her season total to 42 aces. That is the third best mark in the nation.
Saturday's match against Weber State at 7 p.m. is also Kids Day. All kids 12-under will be admitted free, and free foam fingers and team posters will be dispersed. At the conclusion of Saturday's match, Sacramento State players will be on hand to sign autographs.