(MSUB Athletics photo)

(MSUB Athletics release)

BILLINGS – Another big double-double from Maddi Vigil wasn’t enough to lift the Yellowjackets (5-9, 1-4 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) over the Seattle Pacific University Falcons (9-5, 4-2 GNAC) on Thursday night as MSUB fell 3-2 (18-25, 25-18, 26-28, 25-15, 15-5) in Alterowitz Gym. Vigil was a presence all over the court in the match as she dove into the stands and scorer’s table on multiple occasions on her way to picking up a career-high 21 kills to add to her 18 digs.

“Maddi was consistent for us on the outside,” head coach Casey Williams said after the match. “We were able to look to her when we were struggling a little bit. We just needed more distribution from our attack. She was all over the place on defense and obviously did a great job on offense getting the 21 kills.”

After splitting the first two sets by identical scores the Yellowjackets delivered a huge third set victory to earn a 2-1 lead but the Falcons put the match away with decisive performances in the fourth and fifth set. Izela Alvarez picked up 29 digs in the match while Taylor Sherman (14) and Katie Capbell (12) also tallied double digit digs. The starting setter, Alexa Smythe compiled a season-best 48 assists in the match.

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The ‘Jackets controlled the first set once they took a 3-2 lead off of a Miranda McConnell kill. MSUB raced out to a 13-8 lead with a host of Yellowjackets contributing to the attack. Vigil, McConnell, Bayli Monck and Jordan Mix all recorded multiple kills in the set while the team combined for a .343 hitting percentage. The Falcon’s offense was held to a .111 hitting percentage with MSUB counting on the tandem of Izela Alvarez and Vigil in the back row who combined for nine digs. McConnell picked up her second solo block of the season in the opening game.

The roles were reversed in the second set with the SPU offense hitting on all cylinders. The Falcons hit .440 as a team while the ‘Jackets were held to a .111 hitting percentage. Vigil was a relentless attacker in the second set racking up 17 attempts and seven kills. Hali Ehresmann was extremely efficient in the second frame with three kills on five attempts and teaming up with Monck to record a block for MSUB.

With the third set tied 26-26 the ‘Jackets and the Falcons maintained a long rally culminating in a huge kill from Vigil off of a SPU defender putting MSUB on game point. A Seattle Pacific error would give MSUB the 28-26 set. The ‘Jackets combined to hit .194 in the set to edge out the Falcon’s percentage of .188. Alvarez carried the defense with 11 digs in the extended victory while Vigil added 8 digs and six kills.

“We fought hard in that third set to get some momentum on our side but we didn’t transition well into the fourth set,” Williams added. “Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to earn the match victory tonight.”

MSUB let their momentum slip away early in the fourth set with the Falcons jumping out to an early six point lead as their offense began to click. The Yellowjacket attack stalled as McConnell was the only attacker to record multiple kills in the set while the Falcons had four players collect multiple kills.

In the deciding set the ‘Jackets never got going as the teams were tied 3-3 before SPU went on a 12-2 run to seal the victory. The Falcons hit .400 in the deciding frame and recorded three blocks.

The Yellowjackets host another GNAC contest on Saturday when they play the Saint Martin’s University Saints (6-7, 1-4 GNAC). MSUB won the last meeting between the schools, 3-1 in Billings.

THE BUZZ: Maddi Vigil recorded her team-leading sixth double-double of the season on Thursday, she was tied with Kylee Clarke at five…Izela Alvarez improved her GNAC leading digs per set average of 5.71 by averaging 5.8 digs against SPU…Hali Ehresmann led MSUB with a .300 hitting percentage on the night.