BOZEMAN, Mont. — Sacramento State saved five match points in the fifth set, but eventually fell at Montana State, 3-2 (21-25, 25-23, 17-25, 25-16, 19-17), on Saturday evening inside Shroyer Gym.
Playing their ninth five-set match of the season, and sixth against a Big Sky Conference opponent, the Hornets tied the match in the fifth set on six different occasions but could never take a lead. Sacramento State saved match points at 12-14, 13-14, 14-15, 15-16 and 16-17, before a Hornet attack error and a kill from the Bobcats' Hannah Scott put things away after a Sarah Davis kill tied things at 17-17.
The Hornets are now 6-3 in five-set matches this season, and 3-3 against Big Sky opposition.
Statistically, the match was nearly dead even as both teams were extremely close in kills (66-65), hitting percentage (.192-.195), assists (59-58), aces (5-5), digs (86-86) and team blocks (10.5-11.0).
The victory allowed Montana State to improve to 9-10 overall and 6-4 in league play while the Hornets dropped to 11-12 and 6-4 in conference. The Hornets and Bobcats now find themselves locked in a four-way tie for fourth place in the league standings with Weber State and Northern Arizona. Northern Colorado remains in first at 9-1 and Idaho is second at 7-3. Only eight regular season matches remain before Sacramento State hosts the Big Sky Tournament on Nov. 28-30.
After hitting .229, .244 and .317 in the first three sets, respectively, Sacramento State struggled during the final two sets connecting for a .062 mark in the fourth and .118 in the fifth.
Senior outside hitter Sarah Davis had a match-high 26 kills to go along with a career-best 21 digs. Four of those kills came in the fifth set. Davis is now just nine kills shy of the 1,000 kill milestone. Fellow outside hitter Macey Hayden had 14 kills and 14 digs, including five kills and two blocks in the fifth. Middle blocker Cianna Andrews posted 10 kills, five bocks and a .333 hitting percentage, and she is now hitting .307 against conference opponents.
Setter Ashtin Olin had three kills, 49 assists, two blocks and a career-best 19 digs. Middle blocker Sarah Falk had five kills and five blocks and rightside hitter Kayla Subbert posted seven kills and four blocks. Libero Michelle Taynton had 17 digs, McKenna Smith four digs and career-best three aces, and Paige Swinney had five digs.
For Montana State, Kira Thomsen had 22 kills and 18 digs, Scott 20 kills and 11 digs, and Allyssa Rizzo registered 26 digs.
Sacramento State returns home next week to play Idaho on Thursday at 7 p.m., and Eastern Washington on Saturday at 1 p.m.