(MSUB Athletics release)
NAMPA, Idaho – A well balanced attack led by Kylee Clarke’s 31 assists wasn’t enough for the Montana State University Billings volleyball team (8-19, 4-13 GNAC) on Thursday night as the No. 13 Northwest Nazarene Nighthawks (24-2, 16-2 GNAC) rode a .308 hitting percentage to a 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-19) win. The Nighthawks completed their home schedule with a perfect 14-0 record as they finish the season with two road contests next weekend.
“Overall I feel we are continually getting better,” head coach Casey Williams said of her freshman laden squad. “I thought we competed well against an experienced and nationally ranked team.”
The Nighthawks celebrated senior night as five NNU seniors played their last match in the Johnson Sports Center.
The Yellowjackets continued their recent trend of sharing the offensive burden as Bayli Monck recorded 10 kills while Hali Ehresmann and Maddi Vigil each tallied eight kills and an ace a piece. Izela Alvarez delivered two aces on the night and 19 digs.
Monck led the block with a solo block and a block-assist followed by Ehresmann and Miranda McConnell with one assists each. Clarke finished just two digs shy of her seventh double-double of the season as she and Taylor Sherman each had eight.
MSUB had significantly better numbers on Thursday compared to their last outing against the Nighthawks. During the match the ‘Jackets more than doubled their hitting percentage from the last meeting while decreasing the NNU attack’s percentage by over .140 points.
A deep senior class led the Nighthawks in their final match in Nampa as Madi Farrell and Kendra Bodine combined for 36 of NNU’s 53 kills and Jacquelyn Johnson led the team with 20 digs.
In the second set the ‘Jackets had their most efficient offensive output as the team totaled 16 kills while hitting .231. Clarke, McConnell and Monck all recorded multiple kills in the set with hitting percentages above .400 but it was Ehresmann who led the team by connecting on five of her eight attacks in the set. Unfortunately the Nighthawks were able to hold off the ‘Jackets late rally to take the 2-0 lead at the set break.
A great start for the ‘Jackets in the third set was quickly undone after an 8-0 run by NNU gave them an 11-6 advantage. The ‘Hawks held their lead for the rest of the final set led by eight kills from Bodine and six from Farrell to seal the victory.
UP NEXT: the Yellowjackets will play Saturday at Central Washington University (18-7, 13-4 GNAC). The Wildcats defeated the ‘Jackets in straight sets when they visited Billings earlier this season. You can follow the game via the MSUB Stretch Internet Portal.