(Editor's Note: Montana State Press Release)
BOZEMAN -- For the first time since 2004, the Montana State volleyball team placed four players on the All-Big Sky Conference squads, announced by the Big Sky Conference and voted by the league coaches on Tuesday.
MSU's sensational sophomore duo of Emma Pence and Kira Thomsen garnered first-team accolades for their efforts leading the Bobcats to a 10-4 record and a third-place finish in the Big Sky Conference- its best showing since the '04 campaign.
Pence, a 6-2 middle blocker from Carson City, Nevada, finished second in the Big Sky in blocking averaging 1.38 per set. She was also fourth with a .317 attack mark.
"Emma really grabbed a gear during the Covid-19 layoff," said head coach Daniel Jones. "I could not be happier for her that she achieved this recognition from the coaches. It is a great reward for the commitment and toughness she has shown. She’s proven she is a threat on both offense and defense."
Thomsen, a 5-10 outside hitter from parker, Colo., finished fifth in the Big Sky averaging 3.57 kills per set. She was also sixth in points 4.07 pps, and ninth in aces, .34.
"Kira has had a breakout year," Jones said. "She proved in her freshman campaign that she could compete at this level and at times takeover matches. The commitment Kira has to her craft sets a standard in our program that is helping to put us in a position to win championships. She is a leader through both her words and actions."
Outside hitters Hannah Scott and Jourdain Klein were each named to the second-team.
Scott, who was an all-league player last season as well, averaged 2.91 kills and 2.23 digs per set. The 5-10 senior from Hawthorne, Calif., posted a career-high 25 kills as the Bobcat defeated Idaho State in February.
"Hannah continues to be one of our most threatening players," Jones said. "She carries a huge workload for us, scoring points, passing, and playing defense. She’s a true six-rotation player who plays the whole game at a very high level."
Klein, a redshirt-freshman from Ennis, averaged 1.68 kills per set and finished eighth in the Big Sky averaging 1.02 blocks per contest. Klein notched a season-best 14 kills in MSU's win over Portland State.
"Jourdain is thee 'Menace from Ennis.'" Jones chuckled. "She has come into this league as an elite athlete from small class C school. She redshirted in 2019 and the growth we have witnessed since her arrival has had us excited on a daily basis. This recognition from the league is just the beginning. She knows there is a lot of growth still ahead of her and I can’t wait to see what she is capable of achieving."