BUTTE — The Orediggers returned home on a high note.
The Montana Tech volleyball team opened its 2021 season with a 4-0 record at a tournament in West Palm Beach, Florida, last weekend. Tech swept past all four of its opponents.
"It was the best-case scenario," said Tech head coach Brian Solomon. "I think we were practicing really well that first week and I thought we had a good opportunity to do something along those lines. It played out in our favor."
Tech, which posted a 9-11 overall record in the abbreviated spring season, now heads home for its first match of the season as Butte hosts the Big Sky Volleyball Challenge beginning Thursday.
The Orediggers open with a matchup against No. 17 Bellevue University at 7 p.m. at the Butte Civic Center. Admission to that match will be free and Tech football and volleyball posters will be available in the lobby. Tech football players will also be around to sign autographs.
"That'll be super exciting," said senior middle blocker Sydney Parks. "It'll be nice to have friends and family and just have back."
"It's gonna be a great matchup," said Solomon. "I expect a really good opponent and it's gonna be a big challenge for us, so we appreciate having a high-level match in our hometown."
Parks is one of four seniors on Tech's roster, which also includes first-team all-conference outside hitter Karina Mickelson, whose earned that honor three times.
The Orediggers also return Corvallis product Maureen Jessop, who also earned an all-conference selection following the spring season while notching 244 kills.
Solomon is looking not just to his upperclassmen, but to all his players to step up this season as Tech looks to live up to the standard it set in 2019, when the Orediggers claimed the Frontier Conference regular-season title.
"But there are four seniors in particular that I have a lot of trust in," Solomon said. "I think they have just a ton of experience to garner to the younger players and to have a lot of confidence in themselves."
Following its three matches at the Big Sky Volleyball Challenge, Tech heads to Bellevue, Nebraska for the GOSAPRY.com Labor Day Classic Sept. 3-4 before opening conference play on Sept. 17 against Rocky Mountain College.