SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A stellar defensive effort and a huge fifth set propelled Seattle University volleyball to a 21-25, 25-22, 25-19, 23-15, 15-10 win over UC Riverside on Friday at the Sacramento State Invitational.

The Redhawks improve to 4-3 overall while the Highlanders drop to 4-3 on the year.

Freshman Sofia Sanchez led the Redhawks with 13 kills, hugging at a .379 clip. Maja Stojanovic added 10 kills on 19 swings with no errors. The senior middle blocker also added 10 blocks for her first double-double of the year. Senior setter Shae Harris dished 42 assists to go along with eight digs and three blocks, while Tijana Milojevic paced three Redhawks in double figure digs with 21.

"This was a really big win for us," said Head Coach James Finley. "UCR is a really scrappy team that's tough to beat. We had a hard time dealing with their chaos early, but made adjustments, calmed down and found a way to finish."

UCR came out firing, hitting at a .342 average in the first set to earn a 25-21 win. The Redhawks countered in the second set and overcame nine tie scores and three lead changes to hold on for a 25-22 win.

The teams battled tightly in the third before the Redhawks began to pull away late on the serve of Michelle Taynton. The sophomore defensive specialist served seven straight times as Seattle U turned a 17-18 deficit into a 23-19 advantage. A Stojanovic ace sealed the set win.

The Highlanders countered by stealing the fourth set, but the Redhawks hit .583 in the fifth and final set, closing things out with a Rachel Stark kill and a block by Harris and Stojanovic.

"Maja and Shae were solid for us and Sofia had a great match," said Finley. "It was really nice the way we came together at the end and finished strong."

The Redhawks return to action Saturday, facing Nevada at 10 a.m. and host Sacramento State at 7:30 p.m.