BUTTE — The Big Sky Volleyball Challenge offers more than just a handful of games for the 12 teams participating. It offers tough competition and national attention.
“It’s been a great tournament for quite a few years now," said Montana Tech head volleyball coach Brian Solomon. "We have a lot of good teams that continuously come back. The Frontier is a really good conference, the Cascade has some great teams here."
It’s hard to find another college volleyball tournament anywhere in the country that boasts as much talent as the Big Sky Volleyball Challenge does. Twelve teams, from parts of Washington all the way to Illinois, put this tournament as a must-get-to in the early part of the season.
“This Big Sky Challenge now is truly on the map," said Frontier Conference commissioner Kent Paulson. "I mean, there’s certain tournaments, especially out west of the Mississippi, that our coaches look for. As you can see, Montana Tech just played a team ... from the Seattle area. ... They played one from Indiana. And so it’s attracting coaches of programs because, like we talked about, it’s important that they be seen, as well.”
And that exposure Paulson touched on is crucial for many of the teams playing in this weekend's tournament. It offers one of the best chances to play in front of national raters to showcase why they deserve to be in the top 25.
“What I see in volleyball is that it’s so important for them to get out and play really quality teams, quality programs, and also to get in front of raters," Paulson added. "Many of our volleyball coaches in this tournament are national raters, so it really helps the Frontier Conference.”
Above all the experience each team gets in a tournament like this is unparalleled.
“It’s a huge preparation for us. So each tournament we go to we’re playing nationally ranked teams and playing a really high caliber," said Solomon.
Below are results for Day 3:
Montana Western 0, Evergreen (Wash.) 3
MSU Northern 1, Bethel (Ind.) 3
Carroll 2, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 3
Montana Tech 3, Valley City State (N.D.) 0
Evergreen (Wash.) 0, Providence 3
Northwest (Wash) 3, MSU-Northern 0
Rocky Mountain College 3, Bethel (Ind.) 0
College of Idaho 3, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 1