Tech soars as Rocky Krummbles

Going toward Montana Tech’s middle — that’s the way Rocky Mountain Krummbled.

Sophomore middle blocker Korey Krumm, undersized at 5-foot-8 but possessor of tremendous spring, notched 17 kills and two blocks as the Orediggers downed Rocky Mountain 25-21, 25-18, 25-21 in a Frontier Conference college women’s volleyball sweep Thursday night at the Montana Tech HPER Complex.

The victory came on an evening the Orediggers were holding a Mariah’s Challenge fund-raiser. Organization founder Leo McCarthy is a finalist for the CNN Heroes Award for his work on Mariah’s Challenge, which grew out of the death of Leo’s 14-year-old daughter, who was run over by a drunk driver five years ago. Heroes Awar voting is taking place on the CNN website. Leo McCarthy was one of those in attendance at Thursday’s match.

Krumm benefited from more tee-ups by Montana Tech setters and also from the Bears trying to pound through center court. The Oredigger player rose to the occasion on offense, and to the challenge on defense.

“I got a lot of sets,“ Krumm, from Anaconda, said with a nod. “The more sets I get, the more into the match I am and more pumped up I get.“

She said she thought the blocking developed a little slower.

“I got blocked,“ Krumm said, with a slow shake of her head. “I struggled with blocking in the first two games and then (head coach) Brian (Solomon) said, ‘Korey, get your hands over the net,‘ and I got two blocks.“

The win looked fairly easy. The Orediggers out-hit the Bears 50-29. Head coach Laurie Kelly of Rocky Mountain told a group of fans who traveled from Billings that the Bears were almost unrecognizable to her.

“I don’t know who that team was,“ she said to the fans. “I haven’t seen that team in a while.“

Solomon, undoubtedly, would like to see more of the Oredigger team that took the floor Thursday. It played well.

“We just played really dominant,“ Krumm said. “We usually always struggle in the second game of every match. We have times when the passing is great and the hitting isn’t, or when the hitting is great and the passing isn’t. Tonight, the hitting, passing and setting were all great.

“This is so exciting. We’ve been playing well and it’s nice to play well at the end of the season.“

Freshman Sydney Norris nailed 16 kills and senior power hitter Shersteen Cline pasted 10. Alison Lunde set 29 assists and Jesse Bowden set 13. The Orediggers also got 11 digs from Kimmy Kavran and 10 from Lunde. Norris posted three blocks.

Rocky Mountain’s kills leader was Esther Timofeyev with seven. Sky Gabel dished 14 assists, Michaela Hall served two aces and Jamie Elenbaas registered 14 digs.

Montana Tech play was as steady and consistent in the first game as it has been all season. The Orediggers built a 19-13 lead on good play at the net by  Krumm. Krumm pounded seven kills in the game. A sizzler from Cline gave Montana Tech game point, 24-19, before Norris belted the winning kill after Rocky Mountain fought off four game points.

Norris notched eight kills in the second game, one in which the Orediggers did not trail after a tip by Krumm broke a 1-all tie. The spread reached seven points, 11-4, on a Bowden tip as Montana Tech kept good distance. A tip by Cline that crawled over the net put game point at 24-15. Again, the Bears staved off the game loss, for three serves, before Cline clubbed the winner on a kill shot.

Rocky Mountain was stronger in the third game and led 12-10 after a Timofeyev kill. Montana Tech scratched back and pulled even four times before going ahead 16-15 on an ace serve by Ennis freshman Mikayla Sullivan. Lunde’s serving run took the Orediggers to a 22-15 command with Krumm scoring on two hard kills and two blocks, one a stuff. Another kill by Krumm made it 24-18, match point, but the finish was again delayed by a Bears’ rally. Norris finally put them away with a block.

The Orediggers will close out their home season on Saturday with a 5 p.m. match against new Frontier Conference member Dickinson State in the HPER Complex.

Montana Tech def. Rocky Mountain 25-21, 25-18, 25-21.

Kills — RMC 29 (Esther Timofeyev 7, Ahlea Billis 5, Mariah Stiffarm 5, BrieAnna Geck 5, Anna Deward 3, Elli Hellerud 3, Kylie Nielson 1), Tech 50 (Korey Krumm 17, Sydney Norris 16, Shersteen Cline 10, Mikayla Sullivan 7). Assists — RMC 27 (Sky Gabel 14, Bethany Moullet 10, Stiffarm 1, Jamie Elenbaas 1, Geck 1), Tech 48 (Alison Lunde 29, Jesse Bowden 13, Kimmy Kavran 4, Mikayla Sullivan 1, Sydney Norris 1). Aces — RMC 3 (Michaela Hale 2, Elenbaas 1), Tech 2 (Lunde 1, Sullivan 1). Digs — RMC 42 , (Elenbaas 14, Jennifer Donaldson 7, Moullet 5, Billis 5, Hellerud 3, Stiffarm 2, Gabel 2, Dewald 1, Timofeyev 1, Hale 1, Brooke Myers 1), Tech 52 (Kavran 11, Lunde 10, Kirstin King 9, Norris 8, Lacey Phelan 7, Sullivan 4, Krumm 2, Bowden 1). Blocks — RMC 6 (Dewald 2, Timofeyev 2, Geck 2, Billis 1, Jayde Hair 1, Hellerud 1), Tech 7 (Norris 3, Krumm 2, Sullivan 1, Cline 1).