Griz rally past Cats

BOZEMAN – Despite a career-high 38 kills via junior Sarah Horton, the Montana State volleyball team saw intra-state rival Montana rally from a 2-0 deficit to post a 16-25, 17-25, 25-20, 26-24, 15-10 win over the Bobcats Monday night in front of 1,538 fans in Shroyer Gym.

Horton, a 6-foot outside hitter from Fresno, Calif., was almost unstoppable in posting the Big Sky’s top offensive output of the season. However, it was Montana State’s (11-7, 5-5) hitting errors in the final three sets that decided the final outcome.

The Bobcats captured the momentum in the opening two sets, out-hitting Montana (5-14, 3-7) .374 to .177. Horton alone connected on 17 kills in the first two games.

“Everything was clicking in the first two sets,” said MSU head coach Kyle Weindel. “It was a focused effort with our passing and defense and we did a nice job staying in system.”

Montana used a 4-1 run midway through the third set coming out of intermission to stymie the Montana State attack. MSU climbed to within 18-17 on a Horton kill, but the Grizzlies responded with three straight points to put the game away.

“We started giving points away,” Weindel said. “Montana remained steady, while we were posting double-digit hitting errors.

“When you play your rival, or anyone for that matter, when you get up 2-0, you have to put them away and not let them back in the door,” Weindel said.

Leading 18-15 in the fourth set, MSU gave up a 5-1 run as UM took a 20-19 advantage. The score was tied four times down the stretch before the Grizzlies received a Brooke Bray kill, coupled with a MSU hitting error to even the match.

In the final set, Montana surged to an 11-3 lead. The Bobcats battled back to 12-8 on a Horton winner, but UM closed out the match on back-to-back kills.

Also recording double-digit kills for the Bobcats were Macy Page and Eli Svisco with ten winners, each. Setter Jennifer Lundquist dished out a career-high 64 assists and added 16 digs for her fifth double-double of the season.

Nicole Baker led the Bobcats with a team-high 19 digs, while Horton 15 and Svisco 14 also notched double-figure saves. Taylar Barney guided MSU at the net with a match-high eight blocks.

Montana was paced by Bray with 17 kills and eight blocks.

MSU will host Northern Colorado in its annual ‘Dig Pink’ night for breast cancer awareness on Friday night at 7 p.m. in Shroyer Gym. Anyone wearing pink to the match will receive a $4 ticket.

– MSU Sports Information