Bears block Orediggers to end win streak at eight

Bears block Orediggers to end win streak at eight
Montana Tech freshman Gena McMillan hits the ball past the block of Rocky Mountain College's Naomi Bad Bear for a kill Friday night at the HPER Complex. (Bill Foley photo)

By Bill Foley

The ball didn’t bounce the Orediggers’ way Friday night.

Unranked Rocky Mountain College edged No. 23 Montana Tech in a 25-18, 18-25, 13-25, 25-21, 15-9 Frontier Conference volleyball match at the HPER Complex. The win snapped the Orediggers’ eight-match winning streak. Stats

“It was an untimely fifth set,” Tech coach Brian Solomon explained. “That’s unfortunate, but Rocky did a good job on defense and pressed the issue. At the end, the ball bounced that way.”

The loss came despite the Orediggers putting together some impressive runs. One came in the third set when the Orediggers dominated behind the hitting of Jordan Danz, Bailie Cortner, Nicole Peacock and Gena McMillan.

Another came when Tech battled back from a 13-6 hole in the fourth set for a 20-all tie.

Rocky, though, had an answer.

“We played really good in stretches, just not in the fifth,” Solomon said. “We started the first set and the fifth set a little hesitant. We were standing around watching and waiting for errors or something. We didn’t play to win.”

The loss came despite Tech out killing Rocky 68-45. Danz registered 18 kills to lead four Tech players in that category. Cortner added 16, while Peacock killed 12 and McMillan killed 10.

Kylei Hadley’s 15 kills paced the Bears, who improved to 6-4 in conference and 12-15 overall. Ruby Kallenbach and Krista Judish each collected 15 digs in the win.

Makenzie Bauck dished up 55 assists and collected 10 digs for the Orediggers. Sabrina Hopcroft grabbed a match-high 23 digs. Danz dug 11, and Angie Pancost dug nine.

Tech, though, registered 14 service errors and served just one ace in five games.

“We had too many missed serves and didn’t get much for it,” Solomon said. “We missed several late in each set.”

In the tiebreaker, the Bears blocking game got to the Orediggers, and Rocky scored six straight points to turn a 6-5 deficit into an 11-5 advantage. The Orediggers never recovered.

“We were a little bit off point today, and Rocky did a pretty good job of probably frustrating our hitters,” Solomon said. “They came up with some blocks. We were swinging aggressive at their hands, and sometimes that happens. You’re going to win and lose points when you’re hitting off the block. It wall went that way.”

The Orediggers, who fell to 5-4 and 17-8, will get a chance to rebound from the loss Saturday when they take on Montana Western at 7 p.m. at the HPER Complex.

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