(Editor's note: Rocky Mountain College media release)
FULLERTON, Calif. – Finishing its trip to the 2019 Summer Slam Tournament, the Rocky Mountain College volleyball team rebounded from a morning loss Thursday against The Master's University with an evening win against Hope International University.
In their first match against a ranked team in 2019, the No. 13 Battlin' Bears fell to No. 15 The Master's University in five sets. The Mustangs went 9-25, 25-22, 18-25, 25-17, and 15-9.
The Battlin' Bears started the day with a blitzing 8-0 streak to outscore the Mustangs by 16 in the first set. Unable to make the most of the momentum, Rocky was never able to take a lead in a second-set loss. A Rocky win in the third set and a Mustangs victory in the fourth set readied the stage for a decisive final frame. It was close initially until back-to-back kills by the Mustangs' Regan Tate began an 8-2 run to close the match out.
Rocky's Daniella Russell led the team's scoring attack with 18 kills. Natalie Hilderman, Naomi Bad Bear, and Morgan Allen each scored six points apiece with Hilderman also contributing 35 assists.
The Battlin' Bears concluded the road trip with a match against tournament host Hope International University. The Battlin' Bears prevailed 25-23, 20-25, 22-25, 25-20, and 15-12.
Tied 21-21 in the first set, a pair of late kills from Russell led to Hilderman clinching the opening victory off an assist from Kailey Thomson. The Royals took the next two sets, but the Battlin' Bears battled back in the fourth to force the fifth set.
The Royals tied it at 10-10 only for Bad Bear and Allen to vault the Battlin' Bears ahead with a pair of kills. A block by the two and a kill by Monique Rodriguez allowed the Battlin' Bears to carry home the victory off a final bad set from Hope International.
Russell posted 17 kills while Rodriguez and Miranda Gallagher added 12 of their own. Hilderman posted 37 assists and 23 digs. Freshman Ayla Embry posted a personal best 36 digs.
Rocky returns to Montana to play in the 2019 Big Sky Challenge in Butte on Aug. 23-24.