WALTHAM, Mass. – The roster says she's a freshman, but outside hitter Ingrid Murphy (Cotuit/ Barnstable HS) played like a seasoned veteran Tuesday night while leading the Bentley University Falcons to a 3-1 victory over Southern Connecticut State in the quarterfinals of the Northeast-10 Conference Women's Volleyball Championships Friday night at the Dana Center.
In the 25-18, 25-17, 16-25, 25-15 win, the three-time Northeast-10 Rookie of the Week put down a career-best 16 kills and also provided 15 digs, two aces and a block while amassing 18.5 points. Her hitting percentage of .297 was more than 100 points higher than her season norm.
The victory boosted the top-seeded Falcons to 24-5 overall and sent coach Joey Pacis' team into the semifinals for the first time since 2014. Bentley will host the final two rounds and will face fourth-seeded Saint Anselm, a five-set winner over New Haven, Friday night.
With the opening set tied for the 12th time at 17-all, Bentley took charge. The Falcons closed with an 8-1 run that included two Murphy kills and two block shares from senior middle Rachel Bruno (San Diego, Calif./Francis Parker School).
In the second, Bentley jumped out to an 11-4 lead and after the eighth-seeded Owls (14-16) closed to within 19-15, finished with a 6-2 spurt. The final two came on aces served by sophomore Shannon Ngo (San Rafael, Calif./Terra Linda HS)
Southern controlled the third set before Bentley started and finished the fourth set strong. The Falcons built at 15-5 lead with five of the points coming via Murphy kills. Southern countered with an 8-1 run to draw within three before the Falcons closed out the match by scoring nine of the final 11 points. Murphy accounted for two of the points with her 15th and 16th kills of the night and senior Dani Milner (Plano, Texas/Greenhill School) accounted for three of the final five points with kills.
Milner and junior Kirsten Segaline (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain HS) each had eight kills and Ngo finished with seven. She also recorded three blocks and three of the Falcons' eight aces.
Senior setter Xio Lopp (Kalispell, Mont./Flathead HS) played a key role in the victory with 44 assits, 11 digs, two aces, two blocks and six kills in ten swings. The Falcons also received a strong performance from senior libero Emily Barthelmes (Buchanan, N.Y./Hendrick Hudson HS), with 25 digs.
Freshman Ella White (Gurnee, Ill.) led Southern with 13 kills and three blocks.
Bentley outhit the visitors .209 to .110 and had a 10-6.5 advantage in blocks.
The top four seeds all advanced and the other semifinal will pit second-seeded American International against number three Stonehill. Times will be finalized on Wednesday.