BOZEMAN — (Editor's Note: Montana State Press Release)
Montana State played its best volleyball of the weekend, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a five-set setback to Utah State in the final match of the Bobcat Classic on Saturday afternoon in Shroyer Gym.
Montana State (2-4) won the opening set breaking away at 19-18 behind the serving of Hannah Scott who registered two consecutive aces giving the Bobcats a four-point cushion. MSU won the frame on a kill by Kira Thomsen.
Utah State (4-2) flipped the table in the second set outhitting Montana State .381 to .111. The Aggies held the momentum in the third game pulling away at 13-all on four straight points. USU maintained its advantage winning the contest on a Tatum Stall kill.
MSU found itself down four, midway through the fourth set, before going on a 9-2 run taking a 22-19 lead sparked by two kills by Emma Pence. Jordan Radick, a Bozeman High grad, closed out the game on a kill and solo block to force a fifth set.
Utah State jumped out to an 8-3 in the final set on a Kennedi Boyd kill, and MSU would get no closer than three points as the Aggies won the match following a Bobcat hitting error.
“We’re playing good volleyball, but we’re breaking down under pressure,” said MSU head coach Daniel Jones. “We’ll be addressing that in practice this week. We need to find some toughness and stay focused under pressure.”
Thomsen and Scott paced the Bobcats offensively with 15 and 14 kills, respectively, while Radick added ten kills and a match-high seven blocks.
Defensively, MSU was led by Libby Christensen with 12 digs, while Delaney Shearan posted 11 and Scott 10.
“We’re putting up good numbers, put have come up on the wrong side of three five-set matches,” Jones stated. “We’re learning and growing. We deliberately scheduled a tough non-conference to prepare us for the Big Sky Conference season, and it’s doing exactly that and giving us what we need.”
Utah State was led by Tatum Stall with 13 kills and a .385 attack mark.
Arkansas captured the Bobcat Classic title with a 3-0 mark. The Razorback’s Taylor Head was named most valuable player, while Ellease Crumpton and Courtney Jackson of Arkansas, Stall and Beatriz Rodrigues of Utah State, Jayde Harris and Paloma Bowman of Portland and MSU’s Pence were named all-tournament team.
The Bobcats will play at the North Texas Invitational next weekend in Denton.