(MSUB Athletics release)
LACEY, Wash. – Friday started with a heartbreaking loss for Montana State University Billings volleyball (3-4) as the Yellowjackets failed to convert leads into set victories in their 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-13) loss Cal State University, Dominguez Hills (4-2). The struggles continued in the evening as the ‘Jackets couldn’t string together points against the Argonauts of Notre Dame De Namur (3-3) in another 3-0 (25-15, 25-23, 25-16) loss.
“Today was a tough day for us,” head coach Casey William said. “We couldn’t find our rhythm against Dominguez Hills nor Notre Dame De Namur and they were able to capitalize on that. Tomorrow is a new day and we are focusing on getting better as a program.”
MSUB started hot against CSUDH in the first set and Maddi Vigil recorded three-straight service aces to put the ‘Jackets up 16-10. A couple of ‘Jacket errors brought the Toros closer before Dominguez Hills took over the action and tied the match at 19-19. The teams played close down the stretch but MSUB pressed too hard and committed two of their six errors late in the set allowing the Toros a two-point advantage resulting in a 25-23 loss.
The second set started tight as the teams exchanged one point leads before the ‘Jackets pulled away with a 9-2 run buoyed by three kills from Vigil and another from Hali Ehresmann to make it 15-10. Dominguez Hills answered with an 8-3 run of their own to tie the set at 18-18. MSUB’s offense was stunted by the Toros as the ‘Jackets scored one kill from Bayli Monck the rest of the set before losing 25-22.
The Yellowjackets struggled to get anything going in the third set with the Toros holding the lead from wire-to-wire. With Dominguez Hills firing on all cylinders the ‘Jackets found themselves down 15-5 and would never recover.
Miranda McConnell recorded four kills with a .333 hitting percentage and one block-assist against the Toros. Ehresmann had a solo block and two block-assists in the match while contributing five kills. Taylor Sherman was second on the team with her six kills against Dominguez Hills while Vigil led all Yellowjacket attackers with 11. Sherman led the ‘Jackets in digs with 10. Kylee Clarke recorded 27 assists in the loss.
In the first set against the Argonauts, the ‘Jackets fell behind as NDNU started the game with a 5-0 run. Monck recorded the first of her team-high 15 kills to get MSUB on the board but the Yellowjackets would never get the lead below five points during the rest of the set.
The Yellowjackets rebounded well in the second set and hung with NDNU. Monck and Vigil each had five kills in the frame while Ehresmann added three more. MSUB held the lead at 22-20 when the Argo’s rallied for a 5-1 run to seal the set.
The third set started in similar fashion to the first with NDNU taking the first four points and keeping the Yellowjackets at a distance for the rest of the game. MSUB did rally for a five-point run but it was too little too late as the Argonauts finished with a commanding 25-16 victory.
MSUB will play the Humboldt State Lumberjacks tomorrow at 5 p.m. PST to close out their DII West Region Showcase schedule. The ‘Jackets and the ‘Jacks met in the showcase last season with Humboldt State taking a 3-2 win over MSUB.
THE BUZZ: Vigil recorded 10 or more kills in each of the ‘Jackets games on Friday, she is the only ‘Jacket to record double-digit kills in every match… Since a 3-2 loss to Minnesota State University Moorhead in their first game of the season the ‘Jackets have yet to play more than the minimum three sets, they are 3-3 in straight-set decisions…Sherman’s team-leading 10 digs against CSUDH makes her the first player other than Izela Alvarez to lead the team in digs.