VOLLEYBALL SPLITS ROAD TRIP AFTER THREE-SET SWEEP AT SOUTHERN UTAH

VOLLEYBALL SPLITS ROAD TRIP AFTER THREE-SET SWEEP AT SOUTHERN UTAH

Big Sky Conference standings

CEDAR CITY, Utah — Sacramento State used a pair of comebacks in the first and second sets, and cruised in the third on the way to a three-set road sweep of Southern Utah (25-23, 25-20, 25-12) on Saturday afternoon at the America First Events Center.

With the victory, Sacramento State improved to 14-12 overall and 9-3 in the Big Sky Conference. With six matches left on the regular season schedule, the Hornets remain in at least a tie for second place in the league standings with other conference matchups still to be played this evening. Idaho, which sits in first with a 9-2 record, hosts Weber State tonight.

Sacramento State has now won six of its last seven, and nine of its last 11 matches. The Hornets also swept the season series against Southern Utah (3-21, 2-10), which includes a four-set win in Sacramento earlier this year. Sacramento State had its five-match winning streak snapped on Thursday at Northern Arizona. The Lumberjacks remain in a tie for second place with the Hornets after their home win today against Portland State.

The Hornets have now won five straight over Southern Utah. They also own a 10-4 advantage in the all-time series which begin in 2012 when the Thunderbirds joined the Big Sky.

Sacramento State used sizable comebacks in both the first and second sets. Trailing, 20-13, in the first frame, the Hornets closed on a 12-3 run, which included a Mikaela Nocetti kill at set point. In the second, Southern Utah had a 16-11 lead before Sacramento State closed on a 14-4 run. In the third, it was all Hornets, jumping out to a 10-4 lead and cruising form there.

After hitting just .205 in the first set, Sacramento State hit .297 in the second, and .400 in the third. The Hornets finished with a .283 hitting percentage while the Thunderbirds hit just .165. Sacramento State had 38 kills with just eight errors in 106 attacks. The Hornets' eight errors are the lowest total of the season. Sacramento State also had nine team blocks despite the match lasting just three sets, including a game-best seven from middle blocker Lana Brown.

Setter Ashtin Olin had a well rounded match, finishing with six kills, an .857 hitting percentage, 29 assists, two aces, nine digs and four blocks. Also hitting at least .500 were middle blocker Brie Gathright who had five kills, five digs and a .625 hitting percentage, and rightside hitter Cianna Andrews who posted nine kills, a pair of blocks and a .500 hitting percentage.

Outside hitter Mikaela Nocetti led the Hornets with 10 kills while also tacking on nine digs, and fellow outside hitter Sarah Davis had six kills and 10 digs. Libero Paige Swiney had 18 of Sacramento State's 59 digs while Skyler Takeda had eight digs.

Sacramento State plays again next week when its hosts Eastern Washington on Thursday and Idaho on Saturday. Both matchups will begin at 7 p.m.