BUTTE — There’s only one team in any fall sport across Montana still playing. The Montana Tech volleyball team is not ready to usher in the winter season.

“I never really put too much thought into it — that we’re the only team playing still,” said head coach Brian Solomon. “But (we’re) very fortunate and very proud to represent a great school and our community.”

For the second year in a row, the Orediggers are headed to the NAIA National Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa, but this journey is a little different.

“Last year, we walked into (the tournament) and it was like a whole new experience for every single one of us and it was nerve-racking and really intimidating,” said right-side hitter, Nicole Peacock. “I think we’re a team to beat now. I think people take us seriously, so that’s a good feeling.”

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Tech was unknown entering Sioux City last November, but has stayed on the national radar this season. The ladies go into the tourney as the 14th-ranked team in the nation.

“We all don’t want to stop playing volleyball,” said middle-blocker Haley Druyvestein. “Really great things are happening in this program. I’ve been here for five years, and I’ve got to see it grow so much.”

The program is on the rise and an incredible nine new players are making the trip this year. But after a two week hiatus, excitement is the only emotion hanging around Montana Tech as they prepare for pool play on November 28th.