(Editor's note: Montana State Athletics press release)
BOZEMAN -- Despite going up against a big Seattle University block and not playing its best ball of the season, the Montana State volleyball squad still had a shot for a victory in its home opener before dropping a 25-22, 20-25, 25-17, 19-25, 15-11 decision to the Redhawks on Tuesday night in Shroyer Gym.
“Seattle U is a good team, and against good teams you have to be at your best,” said MSU head coach Daniel Jones. “I felt tonight we underperformed. We have to have an ‘earn it’ mentality. We’ll keep putting ourselves in pressure situations during practice and keep working towards winning five-set battles.”
Seattle U (7-4) opened the match out-hitting Montana State (4-5) .167 to .125. The Redhawks took a 1-0 advantage as MSU registered two hitting errors to close out the set. Montana State turned the table in the second stanza pulling away from a 17-16 lead with a 6-2 run and took the set on an Emma Pence kill out of the middle.
“Once we got ourselves settled, I thought we played a solid second set,” Jones said. “Kira (Thomsen) and Evi (Wilson) both had four kills and we were able to distribute the ball.”
The Redhawks owned the third set taking a 2-1 match advantage closing out the stanza on a 7-0 run. Again, the Bobcats responded with a strong fourth set. MSU held a 15-14 lead just after the media timeout and pushed its margin to 19-15 on a Hannah Scott kill. Scott’s sixth kill of the set forced a deciding game.
MSU jumped out to 4-0 and 6-2 advantages in the fifth set. Seattle U countered outscoring the Bobcats 8-2. The Cats were able to even the score at 10 and 11-all, but the Redhawks had one last push taking the final four points.
“We had some momentum heading into the fifth set and were able to jump out to a couple of four-point leads,” Jones said. “We weren’t able sustain the effort and Seattle U was able to rattle off an 8-2 run. In close matches we have to be able to take care of the little things because they can turn into larger problems.”
Wilson led three Bobcats in double-figures with 15 kills, while Scott and Thomsen added 14 and 13, respectively. Allyssa Rizzo paced MSU in the backrow with a match-high 25 digs, while Kelsie White posted a team-best seven blocks.
MSU will take the weekend off before opening its Big Sky Conference season at Montana, Sept. 24.