BOZEMAN — This year's volleyball season has been all about adapting from wearing masks, daily COVID testing, and playing without fans. But through it all, Montana State has found a way to have one of their most prolific seasons yet, and they’re only two games away from their first-ever regular-season championship.
“I laid out a five-year plan, and I’ve looked at the five-year plan a couple of times, and this is the year I said we’d be competing for a championship, and here we are," said Bobcats head volleyball coach Daniel Jones.
After splitting their first two series of the season, the Bobcats have won nine consecutive matches to place them second in the Big Sky standings. Above them sits Weber State, who the Bobcats play this weekend to close out their regular season, and all they need is a sweep to make program history.
“Any team that is at the top of the league like this is a really solid all-around team," added Jones. "I like our matchups with them, but we’re going to have to play our best to beat them and I think also they’re going to have to play their best to beat us.”
While the Bobcats were only tabbed to finish fourth in this year’s preseason Big Sky Conference Coaches’ poll, Coach Jones says his team has sported a championship mentality since day one.
“We’ve got 15 athletes that are 100-percent bought in to do whatever it takes to win a championship as a team," explained Jones. "The central hub of our program is building a legacy, and the ultimate legacy we can leave is a championship.”
When asked if he thought this year's Big Sky champion should have an asterisk next to their name, he said an asterisk would represent the challenges the 2021 spring season brought and the ability to overcome.
“This year may have an asterisk next to it, but the asterisks to me represent just how much more challenging it’s been than a regular season," said Jones. "If someone does put an asterisk by it, all it would represent is the additional level of commitment and the additional level of sacrifice.”
Montana State’s two-game series against Weber State kicks off Saturday at 2 p.m.