MISSOULA – Montana Grizzly volleyball has been waiting for a week like this. The program that can’t seem to dig out of the bottom of the Big Sky Conference suddenly served up an impressive start to league play.
Montana opened with a thrilling, come-from-behind, five-set victory over defending regular-season champion Sacramento State. Then the Grizzlies swept their way past Portland State, a team picked to finish fourth in the league.
Head coach Allison Lawrence feels the confidence building heading into a huge showdown Tuesday night, and she noted the biggest difference: Her team doesn’t show any fear.
“When the other team has gone on a run, we have had that look and that feel like we don’t know what’s working and we don’t know how to get out of it,” Lawrence said about the struggles of past Griz teams. “Whereas our presence this weekend I thought was, no matter whether we lost one or two points in a row, three points in a row, it was, ‘Ok, reset. We’ve got this from here on out.'”
“I think we’ve always had that potential to get to that point,” added senior outside hitter Mykaela Hammer, the Big Sky offensive player of the week. “I think now our fans and everybody who is watching has just officially seen what we can do. I think it’s exciting. I think we’re definitely on an up and up right now. It’s awesome that we’re going to take this into one of our biggest rivalries that we have.”
The big rivalry comes to Missoula on Tuesday. The Grizzlies host Montana State in Dahlberg Arena at 7 p.m., looking for their first 3-0 start to league since 2006.