(Editor's note: Montana State University media release)
OGDEN, Utah – Montana State closed out its regular-season Big Sky Conference schedule dropping a 26-24, 25-18, 25-22 decision to Weber State on Saturday night in Swenson Gym. Despite the setback, the Bobcats finished fourth in the Big Sky standings- it’s best placing since the 2005 season.
Montana State (14-13, 10-8) went toe-to-toe with Weber State (22-7, 13-5) in the opening set, which featured 12 ties and five lead changes. The Bobcats trailed 23-20 down the stretch, but a pair of Kira Thomsen kills evened the score at 24-all. WSU finalized the frame with two consecutive points.
The middle set belonged to the Wildcats as Weber State out-hit Montana State .354 to .152.
MSU came out of intermission and grabbed the momentum in the third set taking an early 10-4 lead following a block by Kelsie White and Allie Lynch. WSU rattled of a 7-1 run to tie the contest, but MSU answered with four straight points capped by a White and Hannah Scott block to give the Bobcats a 15-11 advantage.
Thomsen’s 11th kill of the match gave MSU a 17-12 lead, but again Weber State responded with a 6-2 run to pull to within 19-18. Following an Evi Wilson kill, the Bobcats held a two-point cushion, but the Wildcats finished the night on a 7-2 run for the victory.
“Weber State is a big and physical team,” said MSU head coach Daniel Jones. “I’ve said all along I think they’re the best team in the league. They hit the ball hard, and when you shut down one of their players, another one steps up.”
Megan Gneiting paced Weber State with 10 kills, a .500 attack mark, eight digs and five blocks.
“We didn’t make the plays at the critical moments,” Jones said. “I thought we played well in the fist and third sets, but we need to find away against the top teams to sustain a consistent level of play from the first point to the last.”
Aside from leading the Bobcats in kills, Thomsen hit .296 from the floor and added six digs. Wilson finished with 10 kills and eight digs. Setter Allie Lynch dished out 33 assists and chipped in six digs. Allyssa Rizzo led all players with 16 digs.
Montana State will be the No. 4 seed heading into next Thursday’s Big Sky Tournament and will face host Sacramento State in opening-round action.