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Montana State volleyball advances to Big Sky Conference title match for first time

Montana State volleyball
Posted at 11:04 PM, Nov 23, 2023

GREELEY, Colo. — Montana State got 18 kills from Kira Thomsen and 12 more from Jourdain Kamps on the way to a four-set victory over Eastern Washington in the semifinal round of the Big Sky Conference volleyball tournament Thursday at Bank of Colorado Arena.

The No. 3-seeded Bobcats, now 21-7 overall, beat the No. 7-seeded Eagles 25-22, 16-25, 25-18, 28-26 to advance to the title match of the Big Sky tourney for the first time since the league began sponsoring women's sports in 1988.

MSU, which has now won seven consecutive matches, will face No. 4 Weber State for the title on Friday at 7 p.m. The winner will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I volleyball championship tournament.

Since its first Big Sky tournament appearance in 1996, Montana State is 13-16 overall, but had gone 0-11 in semifinal action prior to Thursday.

“Our competitive maturity has been huge, especially since early November,” MSU first-year head coach Matt Houk stated in a press release. “This is not the same group we had when we took over in January. Their resiliency was spot on tonight.”

Kamps added 15 digs for the Bobcats while Lauren Lindseth had a match-high 19 digs. Nellie Stevenson assisted on 39 of MSU's 58 total kills. The Bobcats finished with a .243 hitting percentage to that of .261 for the Eagles.

Sage Brustad's 22 kills led Eastern Washington and were a match-high. Bri Gunderson had 11 kills, while Makenna Collins had 15 digs and Kate Hatch added 14 digs for the Eagles.

Earler Thursday, Weber State knocked off No. 1 seed Sacramento State 25-21, 23-25, 22-25, 25-23, 15-7 to advance to the championship match.

“Weber State is a really, really disciplined team,” Houk stated. “They run their system well. They have a nice outside hitter, the libero of the year and a great coaching staff. They’ll be ready.

“Our best has to be good. Our leaders will need to be steady; our first contact needs to be solid; we’ll need Nellie to locate a good ball and we need to put pressure on them with our serve. If we can do that, we have a chance.”