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NAIA volleyball: Montana Tech wins pool play opener, Montana Western bows out

Olivia Muir.jpg
Posted at 3:48 PM, Nov 30, 2023

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Montana Tech won its first pool play match of the NAIA Women's Volleyball National Championships Thursday, while Montana Western saw its season come to an end.

The 14th-seeded Orediggers got out to a slow start against Valley City State but rallied for a 25-20, 25-19, 25-23 sweep. Tech trailed 18-10 in the first set before going on a 6-1 run to force a Valley City timeout. Valley City took a 20-17 lead but wouldn't score the rest of the set, as Tech closed on an 8-0 run. Tech controlled the match the rest of the way.

Frontier Conference MVP Olivia Muir had a team-high 16 kills for Tech, which totaled 44 kills in the match. Maureen Jessop added nine kills, and Olivia Labeau put down seven. Rhys Layton had 20 assists, and McKenna Kaelber contributed 13.

Bailey Nelson had 10 kills to lead Valley City, which suffered its second loss of pool play to end its season. That means Friday's match between Tech and Eastern Oregon, scheduled to tip off at noon (MT), is a "win and in" match with the winner advancing to the quarterfinals, which start Saturday.

Western, meanwhile, finished its appearance at the national championships with a 20-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-16 loss to Midland (Neb.) Thursday. The Bulldogs lost their pool play opener to Concordia (Neb.) Wednesday.

Against Midland, Western jumped out to a 16-8 lead en route to the first-set win. The Bulldogs hung tough in the second and third sets, but Midland cruised in the fourth to secure the pool play win.

Peyton Vogl, Danyel Martin and Jordan Olson each had 13 kills for the Bulldogs, who were playing at the final site of the NAIA volleyball championships for the first time in program history.

Jacki Apel led Midland with 11 kills.