Bobcat spikers beat Akron, fall to SD

BOZEMAN — The Montana State volleyball team snapped its six-match losing streak in strong fashion as the Bobcats rolled past the University of Akron 25-14, 25-20, 25-18, before dropping a 25-21, 25-17, 25-20 decision to eventual Bobcat Classic champion South Dakota, Saturday night in Shroyer Gym.

Against Akron, Montana State (2-9) hit a season-high .260 from the field, while holding Akron (5-4) to .065. The Bobcats also received a strong performance from the service line, racking up a season-best ten aces.

“We were serving tough,” said MSU second-year head coach Kyle Weindel. “We were consistent with our play throughout the match and we controlled the things we needed to on our side of the net. We were efficient on offense and our top point producers got it done. It was a relief to finally win a match in straight sets, and it was much needed.”

The freshmen duo of Loni Kreun and Kennadie Clute posted 14 and 12 kills, respectively, while freshman setter Anna Sykora dished out 34 assists. Senior libero Nicole Baker paced MSU defensively with 14 digs, while matching a career-high four aces. Sophomore middle blocker Natalee Godfrey also gave the Bobcats a boost with five kills and three aces.

In the final match of the 15th Bobcat Classic, South Dakota (8-3) out-hit Montana State .278 to .096, while also holding a sizeable 11-0 advantage in blocking.

Clute and Kreun again guided the Bocbats with 14 and 11 kills, respectively.

“South Dakota is a very good and we’re the fourth Big Sky Conference team they’ve beaten this fall,” Weindel said. “I think we saw glimpses of how good we can play. The only thing we can’t do fast enough is get experienced. Practice is one thing, but it’s the match were you gain the most.

“I’m happy with how we’re playing,” Weindel said. “I don’t want to see the kids frustrated. It will take a little time. Now, it matters, as we head into Big Sky Conference play next weekend.”

South Dakota won the Bobcat Classic with a 3-0 record. The Coyotes were led by tournament MVP Kendall Kritenbrink. Also named to the all-tournament team were Tori Kroll, USD, Baker, MSU, McKayla Ferris, Gonzaga, and Kelsey Wilson, Akron.

The Bobcats will open league play on Friday, Sept. 20 when it hosts North Dakota at 7 p.m. in Shroyer Gym.

 — MSU Sports Information



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