(Editor's note: Rocky Mountain College media release)
FULLERTON, Calif. – Rocky Mountain College split a pair of matches to open the 2019 volleyball season at the 2019 Summer Slam Tournament in Fullerton, California.
Going 25-17, 25-21, and 29-27, the University of Saint Francis swept Rocky 3-0 in the season opener.
A 10-3 streak by the Lady Cougars buried the Battlin' Bears in the first set and Rocky proved unable to recover momentum in the second. Saint Francis jumped to an 8-2 lead early in the third set, but the Battlin' Bears rallied to tie the game at 11-11. The score would be tied a total of 11 more times before a kill from the Lady Cougars' Katarina DiBiasio completed the sweep in a 29-27 Saint Francis win.
Rocky's Daniella Russell posted a team-high nine kills while Naomi Bad Bear added an additional six. Natalie Hilderman produced 25 assists. Freshman Ayla Embry led the team's defensive effort with 21 digs.
Saint Francis' Makayla Hissong delivered 13 kills followed by Kendra Siefring's 11 while Maria Pelak produced 45 assists.
The Battlin' Bears prevailed 28-26, 25-17, and 25-16 in the nightcap with a sweep of their own over opponent Benedictine at Mesa.
Tied 26-26 late in the first set, Rocky's Miranda Gallagher put the Battlin' Bears up by one and Russell ended the set 28-26 off a kill from a Natalie Hilderman assist. A bad set by the Redhawks and a kill from Russell kick-started a 9-2 streak early in the second set from which Benedictine at Mesa never recovered. Scoring three kills late in the third set, Russell finished Rocky's first win of the season off a service ace for a set win of 25-16.
Russell scored 20 kills while Monique Rodriquez knocked down seven of her own. Hilderman paved the way with 35 assists. Kailey Thomson's 13 digs in addition to Embry's 12 bore the brunt of Rocky's defense. Bad Bear had five block assists and a solo block.
The Redhawks were led by Katie Nice's 14 kills.
Rocky will continue to compete in the 2019 Summer Slam Tournament Thursday with a match against The Master's University at 12 p.m. PDT and again against tournament host Hope International University at 8 p.m. PDT.