Cats fight but fall in five

CHENEY, Wash. — With its back against the wall, the Montana State volleyball team staved off three set points in the fourth game to force a deciding fifth stanza, before falling to Eastern Washington 25-22, 20-25, 25-18, 24-26, 15-12, Thursday night on Reese Court.

Trailing 2-1 in sets and down 21-13 in game four, Montana State (2-12, 0-3) rallied to pull to within 23-18 on three consecutive kills by freshman Kennadie Clute. Eastern Washington (5-9, 2-1) answered and took a 24-21 advantage giving the Eagles three set points. A Clute kill followed by a EWU hitting error pulled MSU to within 24-23. Bobcat senior libero Nicole Baker took over from the service line with three consecutive aces to give the MSU the win and force a fifth set.

“It was good to see some fight,” said MSU head coach Kyle Weindel. “But we still need to work on letting it rip instead of being conservative when things get close.”

Eastern Washington raced out to an 8-1 lead in set five, but once again, Montana State fought back to close to within 13-12. EWU closed out the match on back-to-back kills via Allie Schumacher.

“We are still searching for our identity,” Weindel said. “Our errors seem to be are demise. We sustained a higher level of play for a little longer, but our passing wasn’t as good as it needed to be, and that, ultimately, was the difference.”

Clute guided MSU with 19 kills and 12 digs, while freshman Loni Kreun added 12 kills and 11 digs. Middle blocker Natalee Godfrey ended with six kills and a team-best four blocks, while Eli Svisco added eight kills.

Defensively, Baker finished with 13 digs and four aces, while Kasey Schlatter added ten saves.

EWU was led by Schumacher with 18 kills and seven digs.

MSU will play at Portland State on Saturday night.

— MSU Sports Information

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