(Editor’s note: Montana State University media release)
FORT WORTH, Texas – For the second time in the day Friday the Montana State volleyball team went to a fifth and deciding set. This time, the Bobcats flipped the table rallying for a 25-21, 19-25, 21-25, 30-28, 17-15 victory over SMU at the Fight for the Fort hosted by TCU on Friday afternoon. MSU dropped a 3-2 decision to Louisiana earlier in the day.
Montana State (3-5) fought off three match points in the fifth set as a Kelsie White kill evened the game at 15-all. SMU (1-6) followed with an attack error to give the Bobcats a one point cushion before calling a time out. After the break, Evi Wilson finished an outstanding performance with a kill to complete the Bobcat comeback.
“I’m so incredibly proud of this team and their ability to fight through two five-set matches,” said MSU head coach Daniel Jones. “To come out on top against a team like SMU speaks volumes about our character and the fight that this team has.”
The Bobcats pushed a deciding set on back-to-back kills from Serena Caspersen and Hannah Scott in the fourth frame. The Mustangs fought off four set points and the Bobcats one in the waning part of contest. The set featured 17 ties and four lead changes.
Montana State opened the match taking the first set outhitting SMU .205 to .089. The Mustangs responded from its slow start closing out the second frame with eight consecutive points. SMU also trailed early in the third set, but battled back for a 2-1 advantage with a late 3-1 run.
Wilson finished the match with a career-high 21 kills. The junior from Bellevue, Wash., recorded 11 kills and a .310 attack mark in the final two sets to spark the Bobcats. “Evi’s execution under pressure was outstanding,” Jones commented.
Also in double-figure kills were Scott 17, McKayla Landreth 11 and White 10. As a team, the Bobcats hit .212 for the match, its second highest total of the season. Sophomore setter Allie Lynch dished out a career-best 58 assists and added 11 digs for her second straight double-double.
“It was nice to see Allie Lynch grow in her role as setter,” Jones said. “McKayla Landreth had her best match in a Bobcat jersey, as well.”
Defensively, Montana State was led by Allyssa Rizzo with a match-high 25 digs, while Libby Christensen added a career-high 15 saves. Also in double-digits was Scott with 14 digs. “It was fun watching Libby put on a defensive show with (Allyssa) Rizzo and Lexi Goroski,” Jones said.
MSU was led at the net by Landreth with a match-high six blocks.
The Bobcats will close out the Fight at the Fort Tournament against host TCU at 1 p.m. (MST).