(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)
BILLINGS – The Montana State University Billings volleyball lost to the University of Alaska Anchorage 3-1 (28-26, 15-25, 25-15, 25-10) Thursday night at Alterowtiz Gymnasium.
The Yellowjackets (7-14, 4-7 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) couldn’t sustain the momentum they built in the first two sets and the Seawolves (15-5, 10-2 GNAC) took advantage late to leave Billings with a win.
UAA started with a 5-1 advantage and held the lead most of the first set. MSUB fell behind 21-14 before going on a 7-0 run to tie the game at 21-21 on a Hailey Carroll ace. An error by the Seawolves the very next point gave MSUB their first lead of the set 22-21.
The Yellowjackets fought off four set points with scrappy defense, but a service ace from UAA’s Talia Leauanae won the game on the fifth set point.
Even in the first set loss, MSUB was able to build momentum with the furious comeback and carry that into the second set.
In one of the more balanced set MSUB has played this year, ‘Jackets were flying around all over the court on both sides of the ball. The team had 13 kills and 22 digs will carrying a combined hitting percentage of .200. MSUB was able to limit UAA to a hitting percentage of -.027 with eight errors.
MSUB shot out to an 11-1 advantage and furthered it to 16-4 after a service ace from junior Bayli Monck. A kill from middle blocker Hannah Hayden gave the Yellowjackets their first set point at 24-12. Four points later, Monck provided the final kill to win the second set in dominating fashion 25-15.
A resolute Seawolves team withstood the ‘Jacket momentum and clawed out to a 7-6 lead to start the fourth set. Winning seven of the next nine points, UAA held a 14-8 advantage. Going on a mini run of their own, MSUB fought back to within four, 15-11, but that would be as close as they would get.
Finishing the set with a 10-4 run, the Seawolves would go up two games to one with a 25-15 third set victory and proved to be the beginning of the end for the ‘Jackets.
The Seawolves overwhelmed MSUB in the fourth set, hitting a combing .343 while limiting MSUB to .000 and only six kills. The ‘Jackets hung around early, fighting to stay in the match but fell behind 14-8. Anchorage flexed their firepower to win the fourth set 25-10 and the match 3-1.
“I thought we did a good job of being scrappy on defense,” said head coach Casey Williams. “Anchorage did a good job of picking up our balls. We struggled to find a rhythm in the third and fourth set. It is hard to be successful when the offense is struggling. We are ready to get back on the court Saturday.”
Eve Stephens lead all players with 20 kills for UAA and a .319 hitting percentage. Vanessa Hayes finished with 10 kills, and Ellen Floyd had a match high 39 assists.
Overall, Anchorage hit .230 with 16 errors while MSUB finished with a hitting percentage of .144 and 21 errors. UAA produced 76 digs and MSUB finished with 69 digs.
For the ‘Jackets, Monck posted her 11th double-double of the year with 16 kills and 11 digs. Hannah Hashbarger also had a double-double of 37 assists and 10 digs.
Freshman Molly Packer was tied with Maddi Vigil for team lead in digs as each had 16. Continuing to be effective and efficient with her chances, Joelle Mahowald led all players with a .412 hitting percentage and added seven kills.
UP NEXT: The Yellowjackets host the University of Alaska, Fairbanks on Saturday, October 26 at 2p.m.
THE BUZZ: Bayli Monck was named Saint Vincent Healthcare player of the game posting a double-double of 16 kills and 11 digs…a near automatic double-double machine during conference play, Monck holds a team best 11 double-doubles on the season.