(Photo courtesy MSU Billings)

(MSU Billings release)

BURNABY, B.C. – The Yellowjackets (5-8, 1-3 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) lost a tightly contested 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-20) match Saturday night on the road against the Simon Fraser Clan (4-8, 1-3 GNAC).

The Montana State University Billings offense was led by Maddi Vigil who racked up 13 kills followed by Miranda McConnell with 11 and Hali Ehresmann with seven. Izela Alvarez had 19 digs to lead the ‘Jacket defense with Taylor Sherman adding 13 and Kylee Clarke 12 digs and 37 assists for the only MSUB double-double. Bayli Monck had two block-assists on the evening pairing up with McConnell and Ehresmann for the Yellowjackets two blocks.

Focus and composure led to the Yellowjacket’s first set victory as MSUB recovered from an early three-point deficit and held off a late rally by the Clan to take the opening game. McConnell had three consecutive attack attempts and finally delivered the deciding kill with the help of a Kylee Clarke’s assists to put the ‘Jackets up 1-0. McConnell had four kills on eight attempts with zero errors in the first set and Monck added three of her six kills on the night. MSUB hit .270 in the first set for their most efficient percentage on the night while Simon Fraser also recorded their best percentage of .306.

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Three points was the largest lead at any point in the second set with the teams playing through nine ties and three lead changes. The Yellowjackets held their three point advantage at 19-16 but Simon Fraser answered with a nine-to-three run to even the match at a set piece. Vigil had five kills in the second set, the highest total in a single set for any ‘Jacket attacker on the night.

The third set was just as close with nine more ties and four lead changes. MSUB earned a 14-10 lead with a Clarke service ace before the Clan took control of the match. Simon Fraser hit .300 in the third set and was carried by seven kills from Kristen Pinkney on 14 attacks. Alvarez tallied seven digs in the set but the MSUB defense was unable to slow SFU.

The final set started with two Simon Fraser aces and the Clan would never trail. MSUB tied the set at 3-3 but SFU regained the lead and hold on for a wire-to-wire victory. The ‘Jackets hit .125 in the set compared to the Clan’s .273. Clarke had seven digs in the final set and McConnell provided three of MSUB’s eight kills.

The Yellowjackets will return home for two GNAC matches this week in Alterowitz gym on Thursday and Saturday. On Thursday, MSUB will take on Seattle Pacific University before playing Saint Martin’s on Saturday.

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