Montana Tech will be looking for a third straight trip to the NAIA Volleyball National Championships Friday when the Orediggers open the Frontier Conference tournament at the HPER Complex.
First up for the Orediggers in the single-elimination tournament is Montana Western. The Diggers and Dawgs will meet at 7 p.m., the final match of the night on Friday.
Tech swept the season series with the Bulldogs, winning both matches in three sets.
Lewis-Clark State College takes on Carroll College in the tournament opener at 2 p.m. The University of Providence takes on MSU-Northern at 5 p.m.
Rocky Mountain College, the regular-season champion and No. 8 team in the nation, has a first-round bye and will play the lowest remaining seed in Saturday’s 11 a.m. semifinal. The other semifinal match is set for 1 p.m., and the championship will be at 7.
Providence is the No. 2 seed at 8-4. The Argos beat Tech, also 8-4, in a tiebreaker. L-C State (6-6) is No. 4, Carroll (6-6) is No. 5, Western (2-10) is No. 6, and Northern (0-12) is No. 7.
Since the Orediggers fell out of the Top 25 during their 16-14 campaign, Tech will almost certainly need to win the tournament to qualify for the tournament. The same is true for Providence, the No. 20 team.
The champion receives an automatic berth in the national tournament. At 27-3, Rocky is basically guaranteed a trip to nationals. If the Bears are upset, they will certainly receive an at-large bid.
The tournament will mark the final home appearance for Montana Tech seniors Masha Korol and Hannah Liss. Korol, an All-American last year, is the reigning Frontier Conference Attacker of the Week.
Individual session tickets will be available as well as all-tournament passes. There will be one session on Friday and two sessions Saturday, semifinals and championship. Individual session tickets are $6 for children (K-12), $10 for seniors (60+) and $12 adults. All-tournament passes are $14 for children, $24 for seniors, and $28 for adults.
2 p.m. — No. 4 Lewis-Clark State (6-6, 17-8) vs No. 5 Carroll College (6-6, 20-14)
5 p.m. — No. 2 University of Providence (8-4, 19-9) vs No. 7 MSU-Northern (0-12, 1-23)
7 p.m. — No. 3 Montana Tech (8-4, 16-14) vs No. 6 MSU-Montana Western (2-10, 6-16)
Bye — No. 1 Rocky Mountain College (12-0, 27-3)