SUU opened the match with all of the momentum, racking up a 5-1 lead behind kills by Lusia Angilau and Kylie Schofield. The duo finished the match leading the team with 11 and 14 kills, respectively. The Hornets came back from the deficit with a 7-0 run, turning an 11-5 Thunderbird lead into a 12-11 advantage of their own. A Schofield kill ended the run and tied the match at 12-12, one of three deadlocks over the next few rallies. Sacramento broke the final 16-16 tie with a three-point run and held at least a three-point cushion down the stretch, taking the frame 25-20.
Ann Clappier and Angilau opened the second set for Southern Utah with a block, but it was another three-point run by the Hornets that proved to be the difference maker in the set. Sac State broke an 8-8 tie with the run, taking an 11-8 lead and continued with the advantage throughout the stanza. The Thunderbirds came within one at 14-13 on a CSUS error, but the Hornets eventually took a two-set advantage with the 25-18 victory.
SUU came out inspired in the third set, hitting a match-high .419 with 16 kills on 31 swings and only three errors. Despite the strong offensive showing, the Thunderbirds trailed throughout most of the set, coming back to tie Sacramento State on four occasions. Southern Utah's seniors proved to be invaluable down the stretch as Schofield recorded two kills and a block, Angilau recorded two blocks and Alissa Youart punctuated the set 25-21 with a closing kill.
The Thunderbirds narrowly missed forcing a decisive fifth set in the fourth, fighting off two CSUS match points to take their own set point at 26-25. However, the Hornets countered with a three-point run to take the match 28-26 with a pair of kills and a closing block.
In addition to her career-high 11 kills, Angilau recorded her first career double-double with a career-high 11 blocks and also led the team with a .400 hitting percentage (11-3-20). Freshman setter Joanna Christenson recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 37 assists and 11 digs. Christenson was one of five players with double-digit digs, joining Sariah Pelaez (14), Hailey Moore (13), Jenna Bradfield (11) and Alissa Yoaurt (10).
Southern Utah finished the night with more digs and blocks than the Hornets, logging 67 and 14.0 (1-26-1) to Sacramento's 66 and 8.0 (0-16-6).
The Thunderbirds will have a rare Saturday off this weekend, returning to the court on Monday night when they welcome Northern Arizona to the Centrum Arena. The match is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. with live stat and live video links available online at www.suutbirds.com.