The following press release is by the Montana State Athletic Department.
First-year Montana State head coach Kyle Weindel and the Bobcat volleyball team did what the program hadn’t accomplished since 2003 with a come-from-behind 19-25, 25-19, 18-25, 25-16, 15-11 over North Dakota in the Betty Engelstad Sports Center.
The victory was MSU’s first win in a Big Sky Conference opener in ten years.
“It was a complete team effort,” Weindel said. “Once we stopped giving away points and got our service game going, we played very good ball.”
Montana State (7-2, 1-0) got off to a slow start as North Dakota (4-7, 0-1) outhit the Bobcats in the opening set .189 to .116. MSU flipped the table in the second stanza to even the match at intermission.
UND established the momentum coming out of the locker room in the third set, as the Bobcats posted eight hitting errors and a paltry .000 attack mark.
MSU quickly regrouped in the fourth frame hitting a whopping .552 from the floor, while holding North Dakota to .188. The Bobcats had 17 kills and just one error in the set.
“The sets we played well in were the ones where we weren’t forcing things,” Weindel said. “We had a few kids get off to slow starts, but they came around at the end, and I’m proud of the complete team effort.”
In the fifth and deciding set, MSU jumped out to a 7-4 advantage on a solo block by setter Jennifer Lundquist. Following the switch, UND closed the margin to 8-7, but Bobcat freshman Natalee Godfrey came through with a kill and a block to lift the MSU margin to 10-7. A Lundquist service ace gave Montana State a 12-7 lead and a Sarah Horton kill ended the set at 15-11.
MSU’s seven wins on the season is one more than all of last year when the Bobcats posted a 6-23 overall mark.
Horton paced the Bobcats with 18 kills, while adding nine digs and three blocks. Also in double-digit kills were Macy Page and Taylar Barney with 17 and 12, respectively. Page ended the contest with a .351 attack mark, while Barney hit an impressive .391 and added four blocks.
Also contributing to MSU’s all-around effort was Lundquist, who dished out 45 assists and added 13 digs and four blocks. Freshman Eli Svisco chipped in a balanced night with eight kills, five aces and 12 digs. Nicole Baker and Kasey Schlatter also reached double-figure digs with 13 and 11, respectively.
“When we stay in system and serve tough, we are a very good team,” Weindel said. “We need to keep expecting more from ourselves. These kids are doing a great job buying into what we are doing and it’s nice to see them be successful.”
MSU will travel to Big Sky Conference preseason favorite Northern Colorado on Saturday.