Diggers fight off Bulldogs for five-set victory

By Bill Foley

Montana Tech’s volleyball team had a hard time finishing off Montana Western Saturday afternoon.

After jumping out to a 2-0 lead, the Orediggers needed to go to a tiebreaker for a five-set Frontier Conference victory at the HPER Complex. Tech won 25-23, 25-15, 17-25, 22-25, 15-7. (Stats)

“We just like to keep it exciting,” Tech sophomore Maureen Jessop said with a laugh after Tech completed the weekend sweep of the Bulldogs. The Orediggers overcame a 1-0 deficit for a four-set victory Friday night.

Jessop, one of three Orediggers in double figures in kills on the day, said being pushed to the limit early in the season is not such a bad thing.

“It always points out your weaknesses so you can work on it in practice,” the Corvallis native said. “That’s always the benefit of games like this. You really get to look at yourself and see what needs to be improved.”

After a tough win in the opener, the Orediggers (4-4) looked primed to make quick work out of the Bulldogs (1-7). Western had a different idea, controlling the next two sets from start to finish.

Jessop said the Bulldogs didn’t do anything different. They just played great.

“They kept it pretty much the same,” she said. “They just served aggressive and kept hitting at us.”

The tiebreaker went back and forth before Tech outscored Western 10-1 to break open a 4-all set. Oredigger Sydney Parks put the game away with a spike off a pass from Kamaile Moody.

Taylor Henley led Tech’s balanced attack, spiking 14 kills. Jessop added 13 kills and 19 digs, and Karina Mickelson registered 12 kills and 17 digs.

Henle also led Tech’s blocking game with five and a half blocks. Jessop blocked three and a half.

With McKenna Kaelber out after suffering an injury on Friday, Moody took over full setter duties and ran the Oredigger attack with 48 assist. She also collected 10 digs. Libero Hannah Oggerino led the back court with 34 digs, and Kiya Loobey spiked nine kills.

Emmah Peterson’s 11 digs paced the Bulldog attack. Abby Morgan added nine kills, while Cady Siemion followed with eight, and Morgan Stenger killed seven.

Abbye Schwager dished up 25 assists, and Tannah Sellers registered 28 digs.

The Bulldogs will play host to the University of Providence. The Orediggers will go back to work getting read for a trip to Carroll College.

Tech is no 4-0 at the HPER Complex and 0-4 on the road.