BOZEMAN — Montana State first volleyball match under new coach Matt Houk was a breakthrough victory, as the Bobcats defeated Oregon State 14-25, 25-21, 14-25, 25-21, 15-13 for the program's first win over a Pac-12 opponent since 1990.
Behind 14 kills from Kira Thomsen, along with contributions from Madilyn Siebler 13, and Jourdain Kamps 12, MSU rallied to beat OSU on Friday at the Bobcat/Blackridge Invite at Shroyer Gym.
Montana State got off to a slow start as Oregon State outhit the Bobcats .357 to .000 in the opening set before Siebler, a sophomore outside hitter, got on track in the second set with back-to-back aces giving MSU a 14-9 advantage. MSU held off a late Beaver charge, winning the set on a kill by Jordan Radick.
“The crazy thing about sports is that there are so many unpredictable things,” said Houk, who picked up his first win as the Bobcats' coach. “The cool thing about volleyball, and the thing that drives volleyball coaches nuts, is one set doesn’t win or lose a match. We didn’t play well in the two sets we lost, yet those didn’t define us.”
“This team is inching itself towards learning that they can be something different than their past,” he added. “There’s a learning curve with that. The best thing we did out there was stay together and have lots of people contribute.”
MSU mirrored itself in set three as OSU jumped out to an 8-1 lead and cruised to the win behind a .370 attack.
The Beavers held the momentum in set four taking a 14-9 advantage, before Kamps ended the run with a pair of kills and two blocks. Kamp’s service ace gave MSU its first lead at 18-17- a lead it wouldn’t relinquish to set up a fifth and deciding game.
“What a great run in set four, when it could’ve been really easy to lay down after set three,” Houk said. “This team showed some will to fight.”
MSU opened the final set taking the first three points and pushed the margin to 8-2 on an Avery Turnage winner. The Cats held a 10-4 lead following an OSU hitting miscue, but the Beavers rallied with a 9-4 run to close to within 14-13. Oregon State’s twenty-first hitting error gave the Bobcats the two-point win.
OSU outhit MSU .257 to .113 and held advantages in assists, digs and blocks. Montana State won the service game with 11 aces, including four from libero and Great Falls CMR grad Lauren Lindseth. The sophomore from Great Falls paced MSU with a match-high 20 digs, while Siebler added 10. Kamps finished with a team-best four blocks.
“Lauren was our rock,” Houk said. “She had 20 digs, handled the serve-receive load and kept us in system a ton.”
Montana State faces North Dakota on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in Shroyer Gym.
Note: Information provided by MSU Athletics