MSU volleyball tops Stetson for first win

LARAMIE, Wyo. — The Montana State volleyball team rallied from a 2-1 deficit to post a 21-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-19, 15-13 victory over Stetson at the UniWyo Wyoming Invitational for its first win of the season, Saturday morning.

Wyoming then handed MSU a 29-27, 25-23, 27-25, 26-24 setback in its final match of the tournament, Saturday afternoon- putting the Bobcats 1-3 on the season.

“I thought we played awesome,” said MSU second-year head coach Kyle Weindel. “In the third set against Stetson, things just started to click. Against Wyoming, we played low-error volleyball against a very good team”

MSU got off to a sluggish start against the Hatters dropping the first set as Stetson hit .394 from the field. The Bobcats rallied from an 8-1 deficit in set two and used a late 6-1 run for the win. In the third game, Stetson pulled away at the mid-way point as MSU committed eight hitting errors.

“We were imitating all the things that weren’t successful for us on Friday,” Weindel said. “Fortunately, we were able to turn things around and started playing the kind of ball we are capable of.”

In the fourth set, the Bobcats out-hit the Hatters .367 to .138 and won the game on a service ace via freshman setter Anna Sykora. In the deciding fifth set- that featured nine ties- MSU took a 13-11 advantage following two Stetson hitting errors. The Bobcats closed out the match as freshmen Kennadie Clute and Loni Kreun each recorded kills.

Clute posted a match-high 25 kills, while Kreun also reached double-figures with 16 winners. Clute, an outside hitter from Spokane, also posted her second straight double-double adding 12 digs. Sykora dished out 55 assists and added ten digs, while Megan Spofford paced the Bobcats at the net with a match-high six blocks.

In its loss to Wyoming, MSU played four tight sets. The first set was tied eight times, before a Cowgirl kill and a Bobcat hitting miscue gave the host team the opening stanza. UW jumped out to a 16-12 lead in set two, before MSU pulled to within 24-23. Wyoming closed out the set with a kill.

The Bobcats took game three behind an early 8-0 run and built a comfortable 20-14 lead before Wyoming rallied to even the set at 23-all. With the set even at 25, MSU received a kill via middle blocker Natalee Godfrey and an ace from Clute for the win.

The final set was tied six times, including 24-all. The Cowgirls closed out the match with two consecutive points on a kill and block.

Kreun, Clute and Spofford again paced the Bobcats with 22, 17, and 11 kills, respectively. Nicole Baker led MSU defensively with a match-high 15 digs. Sykora finished with 60 assists and 11 digs.

“I’m happy with the outcome, despite going 1-3 on the weekend,” Weindel said. “I’m excited that we were able to pick up our level of play throughout the four matches. We certainly have plenty to work on, but again, this was a good first step to the rest of the season.”

MSU will travel to Kentucky next weekend to compete in the Morehead State Invitational. Also competing will be IUPUI and St. Louis.

— MSU Sports Information