(MSUB Athletics release)
BILLINGS – After dominating the first set, the Montana State University volleyball team stumbled to a 3-1 loss against Great Northwest Athletic Conference foe Concordia University Thursday night at Alterowitz Gymnasium. The Cavaliers turned the momentum of the match on the hitting of Tori Johnson after MSUB won the opener 25-13. Johnson slammed 21 kills for Concordia and made 10 digs. The Yellowjackets were outhit .221 to .042 in the final three sets and the Cavaliers surrendered just 12 points in the fourth frame, resulting in a 13-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-12 loss.
“We had some good things happen on our side of the net,” commented Casey Williams after the match. “We played scrappy defense and passed really well off of serve receive. Unfortunately, our offense never really found its’ rhythm and we struggled to find consistency as a result.”
Skylar Reed had a strong performance on the ‘Jackets front row and posted 12 kills and one error for a .393 hitting percentage. Reed also added three blocks and one dig in the losing effort.
Bayli Monck made nine kills, three blocks, and three digs for MSUB and Izela Alvarez led the ‘Jackets with 13 digs. Setter Alexa Smythe picked up her sixth double-double of 2018 with 15 assists and 10 digs.
For Concordia University, Johnson added ten digs and one block to her game high 21 kills to pick up a double-double and Callie Wilkins was especially effective on defense throughout the match, with 25 digs to her credit.
The Cavaliers narrowly cleared the Yellowjackets in team kills 49-to-45 and MSU Billings made 28 attack errors versus 21 for CUP. MSUB out-blocked Concordia 8.0 to 7.0 with middle blocker Eavan Taylor taking credit for five block assists for MSUB.
The Yellowjackets took an early lead in the first set and used two 4-0 runs to extend the lead and snag a 1-0 advantage in the match. In the second, both teams traded chances early but the Cavaliers pulled away 11-6 and the ‘Jackets were unable to recover. The third set was up for grabs for either side into the later stages and the Yellowjackets led 22-21, before Concordia came back to win the final four points, finished off by a Johnson kill set up by Emily Zink.
In the final set, the Yellowjackets saw a lead for the last time at 2-0. An 8-3 run put the Cavaliers solidly in front 11-6 and Johnson carried Concordia the rest of the way, finishing out the set 25-12, including another Johnson kill on match point.
THE BUZZ: Skylar Reed earned St. Vincent Healthcare player of the match for the Yellowjackets. Reed hit .393 and led her team with 12 kills…MSU Billings moved to 0-8 all-time against the Cavaliers after a 3-1 loss earlier this fall.
UP NEXT: MSU Billings (12-17, 6-13 GNAC) plays its’ final match of the season Saturday, November 10 at 2 p.m. against Western Oregon (3-16, 6-20 GNAC) A special recognition will take place before first serve at Alterowitz Gymnasium for the three graduating seniors on the team. They include Taylor Sherman, Katie Campbell, and Miranda McConnell, all of whom have made significant contributions to the program over their tenures.