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SACRAMENTO -- Behind a highly enthusiastic crowd of over 600 fans, Sacramento State outlasted UC Davis, 3-1 (29-27, 25-22, 20-25, 26-24), in the season opener for both teams at the Nest.
The match was part of the first day of the Hornet Invitational, a two-day four-team tournament that saw sixth-ranked Florida sweep San Francisco earlier this afternoon. Three more matches conclude the tournament tomorrow, including Florida vs. UC Davis at 10 a.m., Sacramento State vs. San Francisco at 12:30 p.m., and the Hornets vs. Florida at 7 p.m.
Sacramento State, which won its season opener for the sixth time in seven years, has not lost a opener at home since the 1998 season. The Hornets won all three of their victorious sets in close fashion, which included saving three set points in the first frame. A combo block from Tiyanane Kamba-Griffin and Ellie Tisko ended the first set, and with the scored tied at 24-24 in the fourth frame, Kalani Hayes and Bridgette Smith posted back-to-back kills to send the crowd home happy.
In the longest standing rivalry against any team (77 matches), the Hornets now enjoy a 53-24 all-time record against UC Davis, including a 23-10 mark when playing at home.
Sacramento State finished with more kills (55-48), assists (52-42), aces (13-7) and digs (84-75) than UC Davis. The Hornets hit just .158, but came through when they needed towards the end of each of their victorious sets. UC Davis hit .201 and had four more blocks than Sacramento State (15-11). The Aggies stormed back from a 24-21 deficit in the fourth set to tie things at 24-24 before the back-to-back kills from Hayes and Smith.
Numerous Sacramento State players contributed to the win, including Smith who finished with 15 kills, 15 digs, four blocks and two aces. That included four kills and six digs in the fourth set. Middle blocker Cianna Andrews had 11 kills, four blocks and a .300 hitting percentage, and fellow middle Kamba-Griffin added five kills, five blocks and a team-best .500 hitting percentage.
Tisko, a true freshman, made an impact on the right side with eight kills, three blocks and a .400 hitting percentage. Both Caitlin Volkmann and Hayes had seven kills and two blocks. Sacramento State ran a 6-2 offense, and both setters played well, including Ashtin Olin's 25 assists and 10 digs. McKenna Smith had 19 assists, nine digs and three aces.
Six different Hornets had aces as the team finished with 13, including five in the fourth set. Michelle Taynton led all players with four aces to go along with nine digs. Macey Hayden chipped in 10 digs.
For UC Davis, Olivia Utterback (13) and Amara Aimufua (14) combined for 27 of the Aggies' 48 kills.
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