SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Sacramento State was limited to a season-low .087 hitting percentage on the way to a three-set loss at San Jose State (25-13, 25-17, 25-23) on Thursday evening at Spartan Gym.
The Hornets, who were playing without two-time all-conference setter Ashtin Olin, dropped to 2-2. Tonight marked the first road match of the season for Sacramento State, which plays seven of its first eight matches of the season at home. The Spartans, who were playing their home opener, improved to 3-1. San Jose State had victories over Santa Clara and Portland State last week while the Hornets were coming off wins against UC Davis and San Francisco.
Tonight marked the Hornets' first loss on the Spartans' home floor since 1994. Since that time, Sacramento State had won four consecutive matches in San Jose (2015, 2011, 2009, 2002).
The Hornets got better as the match progressed, but it was a little too late. After hitting for a negative percentage in the first set, the Hornets improved to .023 in the second, and .314 in the third. Sacramento State and San Jose State were tied at 22-22 in the third set, but the Spartans closed on a 3-1 run to take the match. Two of those kills came from Amethyst Harper, who had nine more kills than any other player in the match. The transfer from Montana finished with 18 kills, two aces and a .389 hitting percentage. Every time San Jose State seemingly needed a kill, Harper was there for the answer.
San Jose State had nine more digs (50-41) than the Hornets, and Sacramento State's offense was not nearly as effective as the Spartans. San Jose State had 15 more kills (42-27) and outhit the Hornets, .243-.087. The Hornets, who had posted 13 aces in two of their first three matches, were limited to just five aces tonight.
Sophomore Bridgette Smith finished with a team-high nine kills, and has now led the Hornets in kills in every match this season. She also had 10 digs and a pair of blocks. Outside hitter Macey Hayden finished with seven kills and six digs, and true freshman Ellie Tisko registered five kills and three blocks. Middle blocker Tiyanane Kamba-Griffin finished with three kills and three blocks, and no other Hornet finished with more than one kill.
Setter McKenna Smith had 23 assists, two aces and seven digs, and libero Michelle Taynton had a team-high 14 digs. Caty Cordano added three digs.
Harper was the only Spartan in double-figure kills while libero Sarah Smevog led all players with 17 digs.
Sacramento State will now embark upon a four-match homestand that includes a matchup on Saturday with Saint Mary's at 6 p.m. The Hornets will then host the Sacramento State Invitational next week. The two-day, four-team tournament will take place Sept. 10-11, and include Pacific, Boise State and Cal State Northridge.
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