SACRAMENTO -- Senior Shannon Boyle had a career-best 28 kills and senior Brigitte Murdock added a career-high 38 digs to lead Sacramento State to a 3-2 comeback victory (25-27, 25-21, 21-25, 26-24, 15-8) over Bowling Green in the first round of the NKU Invite on Friday afternoon.
Training, 2-1, in sets, and 23-19 in the fourth set, Sacramento State closed the frame on a 7-1 run and carried that momentum into the fifth set. In fact, the Hornets never trailed in the fifth, jumping out to an 8-3 lead and cruising the rest of the way. Six different Hornets had at least one kill in the fifth set, and the team hit .400 in the decisive frame.
The comeback win comes just three days after overcoming deficits of 8-2 and 13-10 in the fifth set of a 3-2 road victory at UC Davis.
Today's win allowed the Hornets to improve to 5-5 overall and 1-0 at the two-day tournament. Bowling Green dropped to 2-4. Sacramento State will finish the event tomorrow with matches against host Northern Kentucky at 9:30 a.m. PDT and Seattle at 2 p.m. PDT.
Boyle was incredible, as the fourth year senior surpassed her previous career high of 21 kills, set last season at UNLV. Boyle's 28 kills came with just five errors in 69 attacks, and she hit .333 and posted 16 digs. She had two kills during the team's 7-1 run to close the fourth set, and tacked on three more kills without an error in the fifth set.
Murdock, who is the team's starting libero, also had a huge match. The 38 digs surpassed her previous career best of 24. In addition, the 38 digs are tied for the third most in Sacramento State's Div. I era (1991-pres.), and are the most by a Hornet since Breanne Menees had 40 during the 2011 season. Murdock had 10 digs in the first set, 11 in the second, eight more in the third, sixth in the fourth, and three in the fifth set.
Sacramento State finished with a season-best 96 digs, and limited Bowling Green to a .178 hitting percentage. Five Hornets had at least nine digs, comprised of Murdock, Boyle (16), Kennedy Kurtz (13), Mikaela Nocetti (12) and Hannah Meadows (9). Boyle (28 kills, 16 digs) posted her seventh double-double of the season, and Kurtz had 57 assists, three kills and three blocks to go along with her 13 digs.
Middle blocker Lana Brown had 10 kills and a career-best nine blocks, middle Brie Gathright finished with seven kills and five blocks, and true freshman Cianna Andrews, who played on the right side, posted seven kills and a .250 hitting percentage.
Sacramento State hit .206 and had advantages over Bowling Green in kills (67-64), hitting percentage (.206-.178), digs (96-90) and team blocks (15.0-13.0).
The Falcons had four players finish with double figures in kills, including Celena Kanagin who had 11 kills and a .409 hitting percentage, and Katie Kidwell who finished with 10 kills and a .444 hitting percentage.