SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Montana volleyball team won its season-high fourth straight match Saturday night with a 3-0 win at Sacramento State, 25-22, 25-23, 25-20.
The victory was the Grizzlies' first win at Sacramento since the 1999 season.
Montana improved to 9-10 overall and moved within a match of the Big Sky Conference's three-way tie for first place. At the mid-point of the league schedule, Northern Colorado, Portland State and Eastern Washington are all tied atop the standings at 6-2. The Grizzlies are 5-3.
The loss snapped the Hornets' four-match winning streak. Sac State, which is 13-10 overall, sits a match behind Montana in the league standings at 4-4.
Montana hit better than .300 for the second straight match, finishing at .322, with just 11 attack errors on the night.
Senior Whitney Hobbs had 16 kills on .556 hitting, senior Taryn Wright had 40 assists and a season-high five service aces and junior Brittney Brown dug a season-best 24 balls.
"Taryn's serving was incredible, Whitney was unstoppable and Brittney was just fantastic. She was touching every ball," UM coach Jerry Wagner said.
"This team is just locked in big time right now. They can't wait to get back out on the court and play again. There isn't one kid who isn't contributing right now and enjoying this."
Junior Jaimie Thibeault had 12 kills on .455 hitting and added a match-high four blocks. She raised her Big Sky Conference-leading season hitting percentage to .410.
Montana trailed in the opening set, 9-5. Following a timeout by Wagner, Wright had two quick service aces and Hobbs added a pair of kills to help put the Grizzlies up 11-10. Montana would not trail again the rest of the set.
Up 23-22, Thibeault made it 24-22 with a kill, then teamed up with Wright on a block of Sac State's Eryn Kirby to end it.
Montana never trailed in winning the second set and fell behind just briefly early in the third.
Junior Stephanie Turner finished with six kills and six digs, redshirt freshman Paige Branstiter added seven kills and a block and freshman Mie Lindgren had a service ace and nine digs.
Kirby led the Hornets with 11 kills on .500 hitting. Janelle Currey added 10 kills and 12 digs.
Montana will host Montana State on Friday at 7 p.m. at Dahlberg Arena in the Grizzlies' only match of the week.
Montana def. Sacramento State, 25-22, 25-23, 25-20.
Kills - Montana 48 (Whitney Hobbs 16, Jaimie Thibeault 12), Sacramento State 40 (Janelle Currey 10). Blocks - Montana 6 (Thibeault 2), Sacramento State 4 (Eryn Kirby, Anna Schoener). Digs - Montana 55 (Brittney Brown 20), Sacramento State 51 (Desiree Hoyum 13, Currey 12, Breanna Menees 11). Assists - Montana 46 (Taryn Wright 40), Sacramento State 39 (Hannah Hettinga 36). Aces - Montana 7 (Wright 5), Sacramento State 8 (Menees 4).
Time: 1:29. Attendance: 326. Records: Montana: 5-3, 9-10. Sac State: 4-4, 13-10.
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