Big Sky Conference standings
SACRAMENTO -- Four Hornets hit at least .300, including Brie Gathright's nine kills, five blocks and career-best .727 hitting percentage, as Sacramento State swept past Montana State (25-15, 25-22, 25-16) on Thursday evening at the Nest.
The victory allowed Sacramento State to improve to 46-6 all-time against the Bobcats. The Hornets have won 13 straight, and 26 of the last 27 meetings between the two teams. Even more impressive is the Hornets are 25-1 at home against Montana State, and have won 23 straight meetings vs. the Bobcats inside the Nest. The last time MSU won on Colberg Court (Oct. 18, 1997), only four members of the current Sacramento State roster had been born.
More importantly, tonight's win allowed the Hornets (12-11, 7-2) to move into a tie for first place in the Big Sky Conference standings with Idaho. Sacramento State has now won a season-high four straight, and seven of the last eight matches. Each victory during the current four-match win streak has come via three-set sweep. In addition, the team is 3-0 on its current season-high tying four-match homestead.
The Hornets have also won 29 consecutive regular season matches at home against Big Sky opposition, a streak which dates back to the beginning of the 2015 season. The last SAC home loss to a Big Sky opponent during the regular season came in the 2014 season finale to Southern Utah in five sets on Nov. 15, 2014.
The Hornets were able to sweep the season series against Montana State, which includes a four-set victory in Bozeman on Sept. 22. The Bobcats, who had won two of their last three entering this evening's game, dropped to 8-12 overall and 3-6 in league.
Sacramento State had 41 kills and hit .260 as a team while Montana State had just 29 kills and was held to a .121 hitting percentage. The Hornets are now 12-1 when outhitting a team this season, and 7-2 when winning the first set. In addition, the Hornets had five aces and nine team blocks.
Montana State's largest lead of the evening was 4-1 early in the second set. During that second set, with the score tied at 22-22, Sacramento State reeled off the final three points of the frame, capped by a combo block from Gathright and Cianna Andrews.
"I thought the team played solid, and did everything pretty well," Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta said. "We blocked really well, played good defense, and attacked. I've been very happy the way we've played during the homestand, especially early in each match. Earlier this season, we struggled in the first set, and we've gotten much better at that during the homestand."
Four Hornet regulars hit at least .300, led by Gathright who had nine kills with just one error in 11 attacks. Gathright's .727 hitting percentage surpassed her previous career high of .643, and she added five blocks and an ace. Andrews had seven kills, four blocks and a .417 hitting percentage, and middle blocker Lana Brown added seven kills, a pair of blocks and a .385 hitting percentage.
Outside hitter Mikaela Nocetti led all players with 12 kills, a .300 hitting percentage and a pair of aces. The senior co-captain has now recorded double figures in kills in 20 matches this season, and 65 times during her three-year career.
Sarah Davis had five kills and four digs, setter Ashtin Olin had 37 assists and seven digs, and Paige Swinney had a team-high 11 digs. Skyler Takeda added an ace and five digs.
Sacramento State concludes the homestead on Saturday against Montana at 1 p.m. The matinee is part of a tripleheader on campus that will see the men's soccer team play at 3 p.m., and the football team play at 6 p.m.
The Hornets lost to Montana earlier this year in Missoula after winning the first two sets and holding an 18-15 lead in the third.