The Montana Tech volleyball team is once again among the nation’s best.
On Tuesday, the Orediggers will open the NAIA Volleyball National Championship at the Tyson Event Center in Sioux City, Iowa.
The Orediggers, the only Frontier Conference team in the tournament, will be playing in Pool C with defending national champion Hastings (Nebraska), Madonna (Michigan) and Embry-Riddle (Arizona). The top two teams move onto tournament play beginning Friday.
All of Tech’s matches will be broadcast live on KBOW (550 AM, 101.5 FM or online).
The Orediggers open against Madonna at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
No. 14 Tech brings a 22-8 record into the tournament. At 10-2 in league play, the Orediggers won the Frontier Conference regular-season title for the first time in 27 years. A week later, they proved it wasn’t a fluke by winning the Frontier Conference tournament.
Seniors Angela Molesworth and Haley Druyvestein, junior Masha Korol and sophomore Gena McMillan lead a powerful Oredigger offensive attack. As a team, Tech led the Frontier Conference in hitting in 2017.
Korol, a 6-foot-2 hitter from the Ukrainka, Ukraine, was named Frontier Conference MVP following the league tournament.
Sophomore Sabrina Hopcroft, who broke her own record with 53 digs in the Frontier tournament, joined Korol, Molesworth and Druyvestein as an all-conference player. Setter Kamaile Moody earned a spot on the All-Freshman team.
Also, junior Hannah Liss led the Frontier conference in aces for the second straight year. McMillan and junior Tori Chelini joined Liss to give the Orediggers the top three servers in the league.
No. 18 Madonna enters the tournament with a 29-4 record. The Crusaders finished the season at 14-0 in Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference, but fell in the semifinals of the conference tournament.
Outside hitter Karlie Kelly leads the Crusaders, averaging 3.75 kills per set. She has 446 kills on the season. Molesworth’s 353 kills paced the Orediggers.
Oredigger coach Brian Solomon was named the Frontier Conference Coach of the Year.
Tech plays Embry-Riddle at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. The 29-3 Eagles finished 14-0 in the California Pacific Conference.
The Eagles have won 20 straight matches, including their conference tournament. Embry-Riddle went 2-1 against Frontier Conference opponents downing MSU-Northern and Rocky but falling to Providence.
Outside hitter Jalin Yoder leads the Eagles with 424 kills and a .209 hitting percentage.
The Orediggers close pool play against No. 3 Hastings at 11 a.m. on Thursday.
The defending champion Broncos (25-2) won their second straight Great Northern Plains Athletic Conference Tournament. They also won the regular-season title with a 12-3 record.
GPAC MVP Katie Placke and Libero of the Year Jill Bax lead the Broncos into the tournament.