BOZEMAN — Montana State Volleyball opened their season this past weekend going 2-1 at the Boise State Tournament. They’re preparing for another trio of matches starting this Thursday, but this time on their home court with the Bobcat Classic.
“It’s so meaningful to be able to play at home at this time of the year, allow our student-athletes to be students and not be on the road four weeks so they can go to class and get their feet out underneath them academically because that always helps us be more focused on the court," Bobcats head volleyball coach Daniel Jones explained.
The Bobcats return all but two players from a team that posted a 10-4 regular season mark during this year’s abbreviated spring season, which is their best league finish since 2004.
“I am having the most fun," Jones chuckled. "This is an incredible team. They’re all very committed, and my staff is incredible. I just couldn’t be happier, to be honest. The hairs are standing up on my arms. It’s pretty cool.”
Their progress as a program hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Big Sky. They were tabbed to finish fourth this season, but Jones has his sights set higher.
“We want to win it all," Jones proclaimed. "We want to win the regular season. We want to win the conference championship. We want to go to the NCAA Tournament. We want to make noise in the NCAA.”
To get that point, Jones is keying in on the mantra of ‘growth through adversity’ by scheduling a slate of tough, nonconference matches like Arkansas this Thursday.
“Arkansas is no joke," Jones said. "They did really well in the SEC in their abbreviated season. Jason Watson their head coach is a former assistant coach here. so there's history there for him bringing his team back here for I think the first time he’s been back to Montana State since he left. He’s going to be fired up and wanting his team to do well here in front of people he knows well.”
Following Thursday’s match, the Bobcats will face Portland on Friday night and Utah State Saturday to wrap up their tournament.
“We’re going to have our work cut out for us," Jones explained. "It’s going to be fun in front of the fans. I can’t encourage people enough to come out because it’s going to be a phenomenal week of volleyball with a great atmosphere in Shroyer, so it’s going to be a good time.”
Thursday’s match against Arkansas is set for 7 p.m. inside Shroyer Gym.