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SACRAMENTO -- Trailing, 14-12, in the fifth set, the Hornets saved two match points and eventually put away Pacific, 3-2 (25-19, 25-20, 26-28, 21-25, 17-15), in the second round of the Sacramento State Volleyball Invitational on Friday evening.
The first day of the tournament saw both Sacramento State and Boise State post 2-0 records while CSUN and Pacific went 0-2. The Hornets started the day with a three-set sweep of CSUN. The Hornets and Boise State will play for the tournament championship tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. inside the Nest. The other match will see CSUN take on Pacific at 11 a.m. The Hornets-Broncos matchup concludes the tournament.
Tonight's victory was packed with drama as the Hornets looked to be heading to a three-set sweep after winning the first two sets and jumping out to a 17-10 lead in the third. However, Pacific stormed back, and eventually saved two match points before pulling out the third by a 28-26 score. Sacramento State squandered a 12-6 lead in the fourth, and jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the fifth. That 6-1 advantage was short lived as the Tigers went on a 13-6 run to take a 14-12 lead. However, a kill from Bridgette Smith after a long rally drew the Hornets within, 14-13, and a Pacific attack error tied things at 14-14.
Sacramento State had a match point after a Tiyanane Kamba-Griffin solo block, but the Tigers got a kill from Alexa Edwards. That would be the last point the Tigers scored as a Pacific service error followed by a Karlee Soderberg hammer ended the match in an exhausting two hours and 21 minutes.
The Hornets improved to 4-3 overall, while Pacific dropped to 2-6.
The Tigers dominated in a number of statistical categories, including kills (66-50), assists (58-40) and digs (82-54), but the Hornets had a season-high 15 team blocks. The abundance of blocks helped contribute to the Tigers hitting .133. In fact, Pacific had 42 errors in 180 swings. Though Sacramento State had just 50 kills, the team made significantly less errors (22). Both teams finished with 11 service errors, including two for each squad in the fifth frame.
Kamba-Griffin was incredible, finishing with a career-high 10 blocks to go with seven kills and a .538 hitting percentage. Two of her blocks and kills came in the fifth set as she came through with one big play after another. Setter McKenna Smith had a double-double with four kills, a 1.000 hitting percentage, 35 assists and 11 digs. Soderberg, who had been injured all season until making her debut today, had six kills and seven blocks.
Once again, Bridgette Smith led the Hornets in kills, as she finished with 11 to go with 12 digs. Fellow outside hitter Caitlin Volkmann had 10 kills and six digs. Both Caty Cordano and Michelle Taynton had 10 digs, middle blocker Cianna Andrews had six kills, a .444 hitting percentage and two blocks, and Kalani Hayes added four kills.
For Pacific, Edwards led all players with 27 kills, but had 17 errors in 74 swings. Five of her kills came in the fifth set.
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