SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Montana Tech's season came to a close Friday with a 12-25, 29-27, 25-21, 25-22 loss to Eastern Oregon in a pool play match at the NAIA Women's Volleyball National Championships.
The 14th-seeded Orediggers got out to a quick start, blowing open a 9-7 lead in the first set for a 25-12 win behind the arm of Maureen Jessop, who had six kills in the opening set. Jessop totaled 13 kills in the match.
Tech got out to another quick start in the second set, building a 12-3 advantage with Jessop and Olivia Muir leading the way. But Eastern Oregon steadied and scored eight of the set's next 12 points to pull within 16-11 and force a Tech timeout. The Mountaineers stayed just as hot out of the timeout, eventually tying the set at 19. Neither team was able to gain separation from there until EOU broke a 27-27 tie with consecutive kills from Ashton Haughton to take the 29-27 win. Haughton finished with nine kills.
Eastern Oregon carried that momentum into the third set, building a quick 5-1 lead. The Orediggers didn't go down without a fight, though, and reclaimed the lead at 15-13 before EOU settled back in to pull away for the third-set win.
The fourth set was the most even of the match. Neither team led by more than four points, and the set was tied at 1, 2, 5, 8, 17 and 18 before the Mountaineers took control en route to the match-clinching 25-22 win.
Muir had a match-high 16 kills for Tech, while Rhys Latyon distributed 20 assists and McKenna Kaelber had 20. Kaelber added 10 digs and Jelena Jablanov had a team-high 21.
Keira Vaugh had 15 kills to lead Eastern Oregon, which won the pool to advance to bracket play.