(Editor’s note: Montana State University press release)
BOZEMAN – Montana State used its momentum from Thursday night’s victory over Portland State to get out to a quick start against Sacramento State, but it didn’t last long. After dropping the opening set, the Hornets rallied for an 18-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-21 victory, Saturday night in Shroyer Gym.
“We got off to a good start, but I suspect our passing numbers broke down a little bit, which made us a little more predictable,” said MSU head coach Daniel Jones. “And, that’s reflected in Sacramento State’s blocks. They got on our outsides really well and that made for a really tough night.”
Montana State (6-7, 1-1) had good energy in the opening frame breaking away from a 14-13 cushion with a 6-1 run sparked by a Kelsie White kill and block. The Cats took the set on back-to-back kills by senior Natalie Passeck.
Sacramento State (6-10, 1-1) jumped out to a 12-6 lead in the second set and never looked back, out-hitting Montana State .205 to .051. The third set mirrored the second with the Hornets getting out to a big lead and cruising to the win.
In the final set, the Hornets’ front-line took control recording ten blocks. Montana State cut a six-point deficit down to one and closed within 18-17 on a Passeck service ace. However, Sacramento State responded with a 5-1 run to secure the match.
“I think we were a step slow,” Jones said. “Sacramento State does a really good job playing a fast tempo game. We got flustered by it. We have to learn to stay calm and stay in the moment and execute our roles.”
Hannah Scott paced the Bobcats with 12 kills and ten digs, while Passeck finished with 11 kills and nine digs. Also in double-figure kills was junior transfer McKayla Landreth with ten.
Defensively, junior libero Allyssa Rizzo posted 32 kills, including an impressive 11 saves in the opening set. Also in double-digits was Libby Christensen with 11 digs. White paced Montana State at the net with a team-high five blocks.
Sacramento State was led by Mikaela Nocetti and Sarah Davis with 17 kills, apiece.
Montana State will play at Montana on Tuesday night in Missoula.