(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)
BILLINGS, Mont. – The Montana State University Billings volleyball team beat Rocky Mountain College 20-25, 25-21, 25-14, 25-15 Tuesday night in Alterowitz Gym. In doing so, MSUB earned the season sweep over Rocky for the first time since 2007.
The Yellowjackets (7-13, 4-6 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) took a set to get warmed up as Rocky would led the entire way. MSUB closed the gap to a single point (21-20) after a thunderous kill from Bayli Monck. Rocky (16-7, 6-0 Frontier Conference) responded quickly with a 4-0 run to put the game away and take the first set 25-20.
Rocky vaulted out to a 5-1 led to start the second set. MSUB battled back and took their first lead at 9-8 after a kill by Maddi Vigil. The rivals would go back and forth exchanging points, seeing MSUB take a timeout with a 20-19 advantage. That sparked a 4-0 run by the ‘Jackets to put the game out of reach and an error from Rocky would give the second set to MSUB 25-21.
The Yellowjackets took it up a level in the third set as they finished with a season high .500 hitting percentage combined for the entire set. The team was on fire, crushing 16 kills limiting Rocky to only 8 kills and a hitting percentage of .217. MSUB held the lead the entire set, pushing their advantage to 24-14 for after another kill from Vigil. A service ace from Molly Packer capped off one of the best sets MSUB has played all season and secured the dominating third set victory 25-14.
With all the momentum on their side, MSUB raced out to a 15-10 led in the fourth set. Rocky fought back to within a point, 15-14, only to watch MSUB go on a 4-0 run before calling timeout. Back on court, Rocky was on the wrong end of another 4-0 run by MSUB effectively putting the match away at 23-14. One more point for Rocky, a kill by Monck and an ace from Monck and that was it, MSUB won the fourth set 25-15, securing the season sweep of Rocky 3-1.
Playing one of their most balanced matches of the season, MSUB was able crack one of the Frontier Conference’s top defenses, combing for a team hitting percentage of .288, a season high 61 assists, 10 service aces and 81 digs. MSUB committed 17 errors to Rocky’s 16, but limited Rocky’s hitting percentage to .194. The Bears finished with 42 assists, 68 digs and six blocks.
“I thought we did a great job of implementing our game plan,” said head coach Casey Williams. “We struggled a in the first, but turned things around in sets two, three and four. I thought we had great production from everyone and Hannah did a great job distributing the ball. I am looking forward to building on this performance and taking the momentum into the weekend.”
Hannah Hashbarger finished with a match high 53 assists which is the best mark of her promising young career. Four Yellowjackets finished with double digit kills. Joelle Mahowald held a team high .458 hitting percentage to go with 12 kills and Skylar Reed put down 13 kills.
Vigil finished with a double-double of 14 kills and 14 digs while Monck swatted 15 kills to go with 14 digs for her 10th double-double of the year. Monck also had a match high five service aces. Both players finished with a .250 hitting percentage. Hannah Hayden also chipped in seven kills and a solid .222 hitting percentage. Marissa Logozzo again was the defensive leader finishing with a match high 29 digs.
For Rocky, Daniella Russle had a team high 12 kills while Monique Rodriguez was one off with 11 kills. Miranda Gallagher held a team high .421 hitting percentage to go with eight kills. Ayla Embry finished with 17 digs and Natalie Hilderman had a double-double of 31 assists with 14 digs.
UP NEXT: The Yellowjackets resume GNAC play, hosting the University of Alaska Anchorage on Thursday, October 24 at 7p.m. followed by the University of Alaska, Fairbanks at 2p.m. on Saturday, October 26.
THE BUZZ: Joelle Mahowald was named the Saint Vincent Healthcare player of the game for her 12 kill, match high hitting percentage of .458…Mahowald has been the most efficient attacker for MSUB as she leads the team with a .285 hitting percentage this season.