(RMC Athletics release)

BILLINGS – The Rocky Mountain College volleyball team stepped out of conference play on Tuesday and claimed a 3-0 sweep of crosstown rival Montana State University Billings.

Rocky Mountain (11-5), playing its fourth match in six days, played solid on both sides of the net in the 29-27, 25-14, 25-20 win. The Battlin’ Bears had at least 14 kills in every set while holding MSU Billings (5-6) to only 10 and 11 in the final two frames.

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The two teams battled through a tight opening set that was tied nine times before kills from Tess Hellerud and Sydney Smith earned Rocky the win. The home team had 15 kills in the set, but they committed 11 errors and only hit .075.

The Battlin’ Bears had only two errors in the second set as they hit .389 in the win. Leading 15-13, Rocky scored eight straight points before a Hailey Copinga kill closed the set. Rocky then opened a 6-2 lead early in the third and the Yellowjackets couldn’t get closer than two the rest of the way.

Copinga led the Battlin’ Bears with 12 kills for her third double-digit effort of the season. The junior hit .524 while adding a team-high 13 digs and getting one block.

Rocky’s offensive attack was balanced after the night from Copinga as five other players totaled at least six kills. Natalie Hilderman notched a double-double with 36 assists and 11 digs.

For the match, Rocky totaled 45 kills and hit .218. They held the visitors to 35 kills and just .158 hitting behind 50 digs and nine blocks.

Holland Fergurson recorded 12 digs and Sydney Matheny had five blocks.

Hali Ehresman led MSUB with nine kills.

Rocky will play its next four matches on the road in Frontier Conference play. The stretch begins on Friday against Lewis-Clark State in Lewiston, Idaho. First serve is scheduled for 8 p.m. MT.

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