Montana Tech's Sabrina Hopcraft. (Andy Curtis/MTN Sports)

(Editor’s note: Montana Tech press release)

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – In an evenly fought battle, Missouri Baptist held on over the Orediggers 3-1 in the first round of the 16-team bracket at the NAIA National Championship.

Montana Tech’s (24-10) season comes to an end. This is the second straight year the Orediggers have reached the final 16-team bracket. Missouri Baptist edged Tech on the attack 62-55 while hitting just slightly above the Orediggers .211 to .202.

Frontier Conference Player of the Year Masha Korol led the Oredigger attack with 16 kills and hitting .302 in the match.

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After a slow start in the first, the Orediggers went on an 11-1 run to take a 13-9 lead. Tech held off the Spartans the rest of the frame, winning the first 25-20. The Orediggers had 11 kills in the first frame, hitting for .162 and posting four blocks.

The teams played even for most of the second frame before the Spartans started to pull away, taking a 22-16 lead on six consecutive points. The Orediggers scored five straight points of their own to bring the score to 22-21. The Spartans made it to set point, 24-22, but the Diggers fought back to even at 24. After Tech pulled ahead 25-24, Missouri Baptist scored three consecutive points to take the set.

After a 10-10 score in the third, the Spartans put together a 9-2 run, leading 19-12. The Orediggers fought their way back in, pulling the score to 23-20. At set point for the Spartans, Tech scored two consecutive points, bringing the score to 24-22. Missouri Baptist scored the final point to take the set.

In the fourth, neither team held more than a three-point lead through the frame. Missouri Baptist finished the set off with the final two points 26-24 to win the match.

Seniors Angela Molesworth and Haley Druyvestein had 13 and 11 kills. Sabrina Hopcroft had a match-high 23 digs while adding three aces. Marion Couraud had 17 kills for the Spartans and Ana Oliveira had 16.