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MSU Billings, Rocky Mountain College to battle Tuesday

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Posted at 9:00 AM, Feb 23, 2021

(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)

BILLINGS - Returning to action this week, the Montana State University Billings volleyball team is set to take on Rocky Mountain College in a crosstown rivalry matchup.

First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the Fortin Center, on the RMC campus. Live video will be available online here [meridix.com] and live statistics will be available online here [msubsports.com]. No fans are allowed in attendance at Tuesday’s match. “The main goal is for us to just have clean volleyball,” said MSUB head coach Casey Williams on the team’s match against the Battlin’ Bears. “We have had good battles with Rocky the past couple of years, and we have gone to five multiple times. I’m hoping to see a good, clean game out of us.”

The Yellowjackets tipped off their 2021 spring season with a decisive 3-0 victory over Williston State College, in an exhibition match at Alterowitz Gym on Feb. 5. Tuesday’s game against Rocky is the only contest of the week for MSUB, which will next be in action with a pair of matches on March 6 against University of Mary and Williston State in North Dakota. “That was extremely good for our self-confidence as a team,” sophomore middle blocker Hannah Hayden commented on the comprehensive victory over Williston State. “We have taken that (match) and worked on being more positive and energetic during our games. We were all very excited about that win, and hopefully it carries us to a win against Rocky.”

“We did see some things that we wanted to work on after going back through the match, but all in all I was proud of our performance,” Williams said regarding the Williston State match. “I’m looking forward to continuing on with the success we had against Williston, and keeping it rolling for the spring.”

MONCK IN FORM EARLY: Returning first-team all-Great Northwest Athletic Conference selection Bayli Monck was the Yellowjackets’ top offensive performer in the first match of the spring, helping lead the team to victory with a match-high 12 kills. Monck also had a pair of service aces and a pair of block assists, while chipping in five digs.

MAHOWALD EFFICIENT AT NET: Fellow senior Joelle Mahowald had an impressive spring debut against Williston State, converting seven kills on nine attempts with no errors for a hitting percentage of .778. The 6-foot-1 middle also had a pair of block assists and a solo block of her own, completing a strong showing after she ranked second on the team with 0.92 blocks per set in the fall of 2019.

REED SWINGS INTO ACTION: Junior outside hitter Skylar Reed had a balanced performance against Williston State, contributing six kills offensively and tying for the team high with six digs. Reed ranked third on the team with 2.30 kills per set during her sophomore season in 2019, while starting 17 matches and seeing action in all 30.

FRESHMEN ALL CONTRIBUTE IN DEBUT: All six of MSUB’s true freshmen on the roster contributed in the victory over Williston State, with the five hitters each logging at least one kill and libero Kennedy Juranek tying for the team high with six digs. Olivia Schwartz led the group of newcomers with four kills on six attempts, while Carlyn Whitney added three kills on her six attempts. Zoe Bibb, Jahsita Fa’ali’i, and Shauna Stene each had a kill apiece, and Fa’ali’i also had a team-high six digs.

SOPHOMORE SETTERS PERFORM WELL: The sophomore setting tandem of Hannah Hashbarger and Hailey Carroll was a big reason for MSUB’s success in its first match, with each playing a significant role in an overall successful night that saw a .301 team hitting percentage. Carroll led the way with 19 assists while adding six digs, and Hashbarger added 16 assists as each setter saw action in parts of two different sets.

“It has been weird not being able to practice with the full team, but we have taken this time to get to know each other better on and off the court,” said Hayden. “That has helped us create a team atmosphere that is very excited for the future. One of our goals as a team will be just to work together and create our own energy.”

Rocky Mountain College Battlin’ Bears

Tuesday, February 23, 2021 – 7 PM – Fortin Center

The Battlin’ Bears are off to a strong start this spring, holding a 7-1 overall record. RMC defeated Carroll College twice over the weekend, each time in four sets, extending its winning streak to five matches since its only loss of the year on Feb. 5 at University of Providence. After Tuesday’s game against the ‘Jackets, the Bears will host Montana State Northern on Friday and Saturday.

“I am very excited for it,” Hayden said. “Rocky is a rival to us and I think everyone is looking forward to this game.”