VOLLEYBALL’S SEASON COMES TO AN END IN 3-1 BIG SKY TOURNAMENT LOSS TO IDAHO STATE

VOLLEYBALL’S SEASON COMES TO AN END IN 3-1 BIG SKY TOURNAMENT LOSS TO IDAHO STATE

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GREELEY, Colo. — Sacramento State's season came to an end Thanksgiving morning after falling, 3-1 (20-25, 27-25, 25-12, 25-15) in the Big Sky Conference Tournament quarterfinals at Bank of Colorado Arena.

While Sacramento State was eliminated from the tournament, Idaho State (19-13) will advance to tomorrow's semifinal round. The Hornets had reached at least the semifinals of the postseason event each of the last three years until today's loss.

Sacramento State got off to a good start, winning the first set, 25-20, and held what felt like a comfortable 24-21 lead in the second set. Needing just one point to take a commanding 2-0 lead, Sacramento State wasn't able to convert on three consecutive set points as Idaho State stormed back to tie and eventually take the lead, 25-24. A combo block from Cianna Andrews and Brie Gathright tied things at 25-25, but ISU got a kill from Nicole Lee and a Hornet attack error to win the set.

That proved to be a huge momentum swing as Idaho State won both the third and fourth sets comfortably. The Hornets and Bengals were playing each other for the third time this year, as each team won at home during the regular season. Sacramento State was the No. 4 seed at the tournament and Idaho State was the No. 5 seed.

The Hornets, who finished the season 16-16 overall and 11-6 in the Big Sky, were playing for the first time in nine days as the Hornets' regular season finale at home against Northern Colorado last Saturday was canceled due to air quality concerns related to the Camp Fire.

Today marked the final match in the impressive collegiate careers of Mikaela Nocetti, Lana Brown, Skyler Takeda and Gathright. The senior class had a huge hand in Sacramento State posting a combined 51-14 conference record over the last four years, which includes a Big Sky regular season championship a year ago.

Playing in their 18th Big Sky Tournament (and fourth straight appearance), the Hornets were attempting to win their 10th conference tournament crown. This year's postseason event included the top eight teams in the Big Sky and featured four quarterfinal matches on Thanksgiving Day.

Sacramento State got off to a fast start this morning, hitting .333 in a first set that saw the Hornets dominate, opening up a 20-11 lead at one point. In the second set, the Hornets had leads of 15-10, 20-15 and 24-21, and looked to be in control. However, trailing, 21-24, ISU got kills from Abby Garrity, Raegan Steiner and Taylor Meeks, respectively, to tie at 24-24.

During that 3-0 Bengal run, Sacramento State had two good swings at ending the set, but could not convert. The set ended with a review as a Hornet attack error that fell out of bounds was disputed by Sacramento State that there was a Bengal touch. However, the review did not go Sacramento State's way and Idaho State won the pivotal set.

Idaho State finished the match hitting .299 while the Hornets were limited to a .097 percentage. It marked just the second time all year the Hornets were held to below a .100 hitting percentage by a Big Sky opponent. The Bengals also had more kills (53-45), digs (61-48) and team blocks (9-6) than the Hornets.

Sacramento State was led by Nocetti's 14 kills and 10 digs, as the senior finished with 44 career double-doubles. Fellow outside hitter Sarah Davis had 13 kills, and rightside hitter Cianna Andrews had seven kills and three blocks. Brown posted six kills and two blocks, and Gathright added three kills and three blocks. Libero Paige Swinney led the Hornets with 17 digs, Ashtin Olin had 41 assists and five digs, and Takeda had two aces and six digs. Takeda finished her career with 104 aces.

Idaho State was paced by Abby Garrity's 14 kills and 12 digs, Haylie Keck posted 26 digs, and Brooke Pehrson had 11 kills and a .304 hitting percentage.