BUTTE — The Montana Western volleyball team finished just outside of the Top 25 in the latest edition of the NAIA coaches' poll. It'll be hard to not list them as a ranked program when the next version is unveiled.
Danyel Martin delivered a team-high nine kills and supplied four blocks as the Bulldogs swept No. 9 Montana Tech 25-22, 25-19, 25-20 on Wednesday evening at the HPER Complex to hand the Orediggers their first Frontier Conference loss of the season.
"I think their determination and their hard work has been a big factor into what's helped us out this year," said Western head coach Katie Lovett. "They put in so much work during the week and they watch a ton of film and they're so dialed in."
Western completes the upset over No. 9 Tech, sweeping the Orediggers 25-22, 25-19, 25-20. First regular season win over Tech since 2011 and the Bulldogs make a strong case to be ranked in the next poll. #mtscores pic.twitter.com/yE77hpwXyT— Luke Shelton (@lukeshelton_mtn) October 5, 2023
It was Western's first victory over Tech since toppling the top-seeded Orediggers in the Frontier Conference tournament semifinals last season as well as the Bulldogs' first regular-season victory over Tech since 2011.
The Bulldogs (16-2 overall, 4-1 in the Frontier Confernece) are continuing to build on their best start to a season in program history.
"I think our energy and just leaning on each other," Martin, a redshirt junior middle blocker, said on what has propelled Western to such a strong start to conference play. "Coming here is always hyped up because it's Tech, but I think we just focus on our game and us being aggressive and talking and communicating with each other."
The Bulldogs also got eight kills apiece from Kaylee Kopp, Peyton Vogl and Jordan Olson. Kelsey Goddard had 23 digs for Western and Kaylee Fritz had 21 assists.
Tech (14-3, 3-1) was led by 10 kills from both Maureen Jessop and Olivia Muir. Olivia LaBeau had seven kills to go with four blocks, Layton Rhys supplied 17 assists and Jelena Jablanov had 15 digs for the Orediggers.
Western now travels to the University of Providence on Saturday while Tech plays Carroll College in Helena on Friday.