BOZEMAN – Behind a career-high 22 kills from freshman Kira Thomsen and a career-high 20 kills by Hannah Scott, the Montana State volleyball team rallied for a 21-25, 25-23, 17-25, 25-16, 19-17 victory over Sacramento State on Saturday night in Shroyer Gym.

The victory snapped a 13-match losing streak to the Hornets dating to 2010.

Montana State (10-9, 6-4) played without two of its starters as Evi Wilson and Kelsie White were sidelined with injury and illness. Sophomore Hailey Merkes and freshman Kaycee O’Dell stepped into the starting rotation and helped lift MSU to its sixth Big Sky Conference win, matching last season’s total.

“I’m super proud of the whole team,” MSU coach Daniel Jones said. “I’ve said all along that the strength of the team is the team.”

Sacramento State (11-12, 6-4) pulled away at the midway mark of the opening set with a 6-1 run and held the margin for the remainder of the frame as MSU looked to find its rhythm in its serve-receive game. The second set featured 10 ties and six lead changes before the Bobcats pulled away at 22-all on a Thomsen kill and a Hornet hitting error. 

In the final set, Montana State got out to an early 7-4 lead following a Sac State hitting error. At 14-12, the Bobcats held two match points that the Hornets rejected. The Cats kept the pressure on Sacramento State with three more set points before winning the match on a Hornet hitting error coupled with a Scott kill.

Montana State will host Montana in the Brawl of the Wild match at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Shroyer Gym. The Bobcats defeated the Grizzlies in the first matchup, 3-0, in Missoula on Sept. 24.

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