(Photo courtesy MSU Billings)

(MSUB Athletics release)

BELLINGHAM, WASH – Errors got the best of the Montana State Billings volleyball team (5-7, 1-2 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) on Thursday night as the ‘Jackets lost a 3-0 (25-19, 25-14, 25-16) match to the No. 13 Western Washington University Vikings (9-3, 3-1). The MSUB offense never got going as the team finished the match hitting .084 with 18 errors.

“We have to take positives and learn from games like this,” head coach Casey Williams said after the match. “This is our first GNAC road match together and we have some growing to do. We had scrappy defense and made some great hustle plays. In the end it wasn’t enough to overcome an experienced Western Washington team.”

Izela Alvarez and Taylor Sherman did much of the work for the Yellowjacket’s defense piling up 23 and 14 digs respectively. Hali Ehresmann and Alexa Smythe provided resistance on the front line as they recorded a pair of blocks for the ‘Jackets. Ehresmann added a solo block as well as another block-assists with Bayli Monck later in the match. Maddi Vigil led the attack with 9 kills while hitting .304 in the contest followed by Miranda McConnell who tallied 6 kills and hit .267.

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The Yellowjackets hung with the No. 13 Viking throughout the first set as MSUB relied on its defense. Alvarez recorded 10 digs in the set while Ehresmann and Smythe rejected multiple Western Washington attacks and recorded a block together. The ‘Jackets held the second best offense in the GNAC to a .096 hitting percentage in the opening frame but MSUB couldn’t get its offense on track with 10 errors matching their 10 kills.

In the second set the Yellowjackets stalled after Vigil delivered a kill to tie the game 5-5. The Vikings took advantage of the ‘Jacket’s offensive woes and rolled out to a 12-5 lead. MSUB responded with a three point run after a timeout but were unable to pull closer than four. The WWU offense was able to get into a rhythm and record a .279 hitting percentage in the second set while MSUB hit .100.

MSUB kept the third set close at the beginning tying the Vikings at nearly every point up until 7-7 when WWU began to pull away. The Yellowjackets didn’t have an answer for the Viking’s three-headed attack of Abby Phelps, Michaela Hall and Joellee, Buckner who all recorded 11 kills for WWU.