BUTTE — The Orediggers punched their ticket to Iowa, and did it in thrilling fashion.
Olivia Muir racked up 18 kills and delivered the match-sealing ace as the No. 15 Montana Tech volleyball team rallied past Bushnell University (RV) in five sets (26-28, 25-19, 25-27, 28-26, 16-14) in an NAIA National Tournament opening round match at the HPER Complex on Saturday evening.
The Orediggers (21-9, 7-3) now head for the final tournament site in Sioux City, where they'll play their first match on November 30.
In the fifth set, Bushnell stormed to a 7-2 and then a 10-5 lead. Tech reeled off three straight points to narrow the deficit to 10-8. The Beacons then pulled away to lead 12-8 before the Orediggers went on a four-point run to tie the deciding set at 12-12.
Maureen Jessop and Karina Mickelson each added 14 kills for Tech. Mickelson also had eight blocks and Sydney Parks had seven. McKenna Kaelber had a match-high 59 assists and Sarah Hopcroft led the Orediggers' defense with 22 digs.
Bushnell, which ends its season at 21-9, 7-3, was led by 14 kills apiece from Shay Coons and Camille Guerrero. Makenna Northern had 54 assists and Callie Wilkins had 29 digs.