(MSU Billings release)
BILLINGS - The Montana State University Billings volleyball team swept the Saints of Saint Martin’s University 3-0 (25-11, 25-18, 26-24) Thursday night at Alterowitz Gymnasium.
The Yellowjackets hosted their annual Pink Night in partnership with St. Vincent Healthcare, as the team greeted breast cancer survivors before taking the court clad in pink uniforms. MSUB (6-12, 4-5 Great Northwest Athletic Conference), put together one of their more balanced matches of the year, finishing with 35 kills and a hitting percentage of .244.
Hannah Hashbarger (21 assists) distributed the ball all over the court, as seven different player registered kills for MSUB. Skylar Reed (.533) and Joelle Mahowald (.583) both swatted eight kills to pace MSUB. Maddi Vigil finished with seven kills, Bayli Monck five kills, Eavan Taylor four, Hasbarger two and freshman Hannah Hayden chipped in one.
Saint Martin’s (0-19, 0-10 GNAC) could not find any rhythm or get out of their own way as they ended the night with a hitting percentage of .037. The Saints posted 31 kills, but an overwhelming 27 errors. Emily Gooding held a team high nine kills and a .111 hitting percentage.
“I think we came out really strong in the first set and started really well,” said head coach Casey Williams. “We became a little complacent tonight, but any win in the GNAC is good and I am proud of the way we finished. I am looking forward to carrying this momentum into Saturday’s match.”
Storming out to a 9-2 lead, MSUB never looked back easily winning the first set 25-11. The team hit .458 with 12 kills.
Easing off the gas, the second set was much more competitive. SMU took an early lead which resulted in a back and forth affair. The ‘Jackets called timeout down 13-14 and proceeded to go on a 6-0 run to open up a 19-14 lead. That proved too much for SMU to overcome, as MSUB would go onto win the second set 25-18.
The third set proved to be MSUB’s biggest test and they did themselves no favors. Seven of the ‘Jackets 13 team errors came in the third set as did the team’s lowest hitting percentage of the match, .091. Staying just out of SMU’s reach for the majority of the set, MSUB never trailed in the set.
In an intense final few points, the Saints railed to close the gap 23-20 and force a Yellowjacket timeout. A kill by Vigil at 23-21 gave MSUB their first match point. SMU fought off two consecutive match points to tie the game at 24-24. A ferocious kill by Monck gave MSUB their second match point which they did not let slip away. An assisted block by Monck and Taylor effectively ended the match and gave MSUB the win.
Taylor led all players with seven blocks while hitting .182. Marrissa Logozzo led all players with 14 digs, followed by Monck who produced 12. Hailey Carroll, Monck and Vigil each had two service aces on the night.
MSUB moves to 22-5 all-time against SMU, with the last loss to the Saints coming in 2016.
UP NEXT: The Yellowjackets face off against the Seattle Pacific University Falcons on Saturday, October 19 in Alterowitz Gym. The match is schedule to being at 2 P.M. SPU is coming off a 3-0 (25-14, 25-20, 25-23) sweep of SMU Tuesday, Oct. 15. The Falcons and the Yellowjackets spilt the series last season as both teams successfully defended their home courts.
THE BUZZ: Hannah Hashbarger was named St. Vincent Healthcare player of the match for the Yellowjackets. She led the team with 29 assists while posting six digs and two kills from her setter position.