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BOISE, Idaho — Sacramento State and Boise State went back and forth in a fifth set that featured 15 ties and 10 lead changes before the Broncos finally won the match with an 18-16 fifth-set victory over the Hornets in the second round of the Boise State Volleyball Invitational on Friday evening. The two teams had split the first four sets with the Hornets taking the first (25-17) and fourth (25-23) frames, and the Broncos winning the second (25-20) and third (26-24).
Each of the final three sets were decided by two points in a match which lasted two hours and 30 minutes. In that fifth set, Sacramento State saved a match point at 13-14 while Boise State saved match points and 14-15 and 15-16. After the Hornets took a 16-15 lead, Boise State rattled off three straight points on a combo block, Hornet attack error and a kill from Sabryn Roberts, respectively, to end the match.
Sacramento State could have just as easily won the match in four sets, but let a 24-21 lead slip away in the third. The Broncos closed the frame on a 5-0 run and were helped by a Hornet service error and three Sacramento State attack errors during the spurt.
With the loss, the Hornets (3-4 overall) dropped to 0-2 at the two-day tournament, which includes a 3-1 loss to Missouri earlier this morning. Sacramento State concludes the tournament tomorrow against 10th-ranked BYU at 11 a.m. PDT. The victory allowed the Broncos to improve to 3-2, and 1-1 at the tournament (they lost to BYU last night).
Statistically speaking, as expected with a matchup as close as tonight, the two teams were fairly even in most categories. The Broncos had just four more kills than the Hornets (69-65) and one more ace (4-3) while the Hornets outhit Boise State (.224-.203). A big difference in the match was the play of reigning Boise State All-American and Mountain West Player of the Year Sierra Nobley who finished with 32 kills in a massive 81 swings. In fact, Nobley accounted for over 40 percent of the team's 197 total attacks. It was Nobley who had seven kills in the decisive fifth set, including a kill that saved match point at 14-15. Nobley didn't hit for a particularly high percentage (.222), but came through in the fifth set with seven kills and five digs.
Sacramento State saw four players finish with double figures in kills, including two new career highs. Mikaela Nocetti had a career-high 19 kills to go along with 14 digs and two blocks. One of those blocks came on Nobley with the Hornets facing match point at 13-14 in the fifth. Nocetti also hit .296 and had an ace. She was joined in double figures by Shannon Boyle (19 kills, 20 digs), Lana Brown (13 kills, six blocks, match-high .407 hitting percentage) and Sarah Davis (career-high 10 kills and four blocks).
The quartet of Nocetti, Boyle, Brown and Davis accounted for 61 of the team's 65 kills.
Boyle's 20 digs were two shy of her career best, and Boyle and Nocetti both turned in their fifth double-doubles of the season. Setter Kennedy Kurtz finished four assists shy (59) of her career high to go along with 11 digs, and libero Brigitte Murdock's 23 digs were one shy of her career high. Brie Gathright added four kills and two blocks, and Hannah Meadows had five digs.
Sacramento State served tough all evening, but did commit 12 service errors including one at 24-21 of the third set and two more in the fifth frame.
Roberts had 17 kills, a .289 hitting percentage and 13 digs, but it was pretty much Nobley's show as Boise State setters Jaymee-Lee Bulda and Cassedi Simon constantly set the 6-foot-1 outside hitter. To give a comparison, Nobley had 81 swings, Roberts had 45 swings, and no other Boise State player had more than 28.