GREAT FALLS — The No. 4 seed Montana Western (21-6) volleyball team topped Rocky Mountain College (21-12) in five sets (25-23, 20-25, 26-28, 25-23, 15-10) on Saturday to claim a Frontier Conference championship and an automatic berth in the NAIA national tournament.
It’s the first outright conference title for the Bulldogs since 1994.
Western trailed 20-16 in the first set, but rallied to win 25-23. Rocky took the next set 25-20. The third set was the most competitive with each team trading their best punch before Rocky prevailed 28-26.
Western had to rally again in the fourth set, clawing back from a 15-9 defecit to win 25-23. The fifth and decisive set was tied 9-9 before the Bulldogs scored six of the next seven points to win 15-10 for a five set victory.
Jazi Smith led Montana-Western with 16 kills, while Danyel Martin and Payton Vogl each added 15. Bella Bryan led all players with 17 kills for Rocky. Kelsey Goddard had 28 digs for the Bulldogs while Vogl led the way with nine blocks.
Montana-Western will advance to the NAIA tournament beginning on November 18 at home sites around the country. The Bulldogs will learn their first round opponent during the NAIA selection show on Monday.