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MSU Billings drops final two matches of crossover tournament

Posted at 7:48 PM, Sep 01, 2018
(Photo courtesy MSU Billings)

(MSU Billings release)

SAN FRANCISCO, Cal. – The Yellowjackets came up short against two Pacific West opponents Saturday and finished 2-2 in the GNAC/PacWest crossover tournament at Don Nasser Family Plaza over the weekend. On Saturday morning, California State Dominguez Hills was the more consistent side and prevailed 3-1. University of Hawai’I at Hilo then defeated MSUB 3-0 in the afternoon. It was the first time the Yellowjackets have been swept this season.

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY-DOMINGUEZ HILLS 3, MSU Billings 1

The Yellowjackets’ six-match win streak was halted when they fell to California State University Dominguez Hills in four-set fashion Saturday morning in match three of the GNAC/PacWest Crossover Tournament. Tati Yandall was the driving force behind the Toros strong performance and she finished with 17 kills, 13 digs, two blocks, and one service ace. Rylee Brown and Esther Duru also had double-digit kills for CSUDH.

Izela Alvarez made 26 digs for Montana State University Billings and Kylee Clarke recorded 40 assists but it was not enough to make up for losses in the first two sets at San Francisco State University. The ‘Jackets streak of six straight wins to begin the season was the first time they achieved the feat since 2001.

The Yellowjackets mustered eight kills on 27 attacks in the first set, continuing a trend of slow starts the team has had even over the course of their the six match streak. For the Toros, Tati Yandall made five kills and helped California State Dominguez Hills to an over .300 hitting percentage in the first set, winning it 25-14.

MSUB made more headway offensively in the second set and tied the score 15-15. The Toros then went on a 6-0 run to put a potential comeback out of reach for the ‘Jackets. Yandall ran her kill total to double-digits and California State Dominguez Hills took a 2-0 lead 25-20. The Toros continued to lead in kills, service aces, hitting percentage, and blocks through the second set.

Montana State Billings found traction in the third set and won three straight points to grab their first three point lead of the day 8-5. Strong serving by Izela Alvarez helped the ‘Jackets extend the lead and Maddi Vigil served out set point for a 25-16 score. The ‘Jackets hitting percentage changed very little from the second set, but the Toros percentage dropped to .195, far below their three set average of .245.

Too many errors cost the Yellowjackets in their bid for a third comeback from two sets down this fall. Yandall continued to be a force for the Toros while Jordan Ramirez posted 42 assists at setter. The ‘Jackets trailed from the first point and fell 25-16. CSUDH posted 12 kills in the final set and finished the match with 52, ahead of MSUB’s 46.

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI’I AT HILO 3, MSU Billings 0

The Vulcans handed MSUB their first sweep of the season Saturday night. UH Hilo made 38 kills and the Vulcans were particularly strong off the block, with nine. Alvarez and Monck led the defensive effort for MSUB and posted 13 and 10 digs respectively but their effort was not enough for the ‘Jackets to assemble a set.

UH Hilo outplayed the Yellowjackets in most statistical categories to take set one 25-17. The Vulcans slammed 13 kills compared to nine for MSUB and the offense was led by Bria Beale who had five kills individually. MSUB did not hold a lead in the first frame.

Again, Hawai’I at Hilo pushed the Yellowjackets onto their heels in the second set and MSUB recorded more errors (17) than kills (17) through two sets. The Vulcans continued to spread out their offense and Beale continued to lead the way for UH Hilo in both kills (6) and digs (11).

Montana State Billings struggled to make a positive hitting percentage again in the third set. They were met with even stronger blocking by Hawai’I Hilo who ended with nine blocks for the match. Kiley Davis led the category with seven.

After trailing 17-10, the ‘Jackets made one last attempt to get back into the game with a 5-2 run but they came up short of the target and dropped the third set 25-20. Kylee Clarke had 17 assists for MSUB.

THE BUZZ: was named St. Vincent player of the day for Montana State Billings. Alvarez made 26 digs and two assists against California State Dominguez Hills.

UP NEXT: Montana State Billings (7-2, 0-0) will play Western Oregon (2-4, 0-0) to lead off the Great Northwest Athletic Conference schedule on September 6 at 7:00 p.m. in Monmount, Ore. A trip to Concordia (Ore.) on September 8 ends a string of ten straight road matches for MSUB. The conference home opener is scheduled for September 14 against Alaska Anchorage at 7:00 p.m.