By Montana Tech Sports Information
The No. 20 Montana Tech volleyball team opens the Frontier Conference season Friday in Great Falls at the University of Providence at 7 p.m. at the McLaughlin Center.
After opening the season 3-1 at the Big Sky Volleyball Challenge, the Orediggers finished the non-conference schedule with a 12-6 record. The Orediggers opened with a tough schedule facing seven teams receiving votes or in the NAIA Coaches’ Top 25, including last year’s national champion runner-up and currently No. 4 University of Jamestown (N.D.) and No. 9 Viterbo (Wis.). Tech starts the conference slate with the best record in the conference.
Providence, who won the Frontier Conference regular season and tournament titles last season, opened the year with a 7-11 record. The Argos lost a number of seniors but junior outside hitter Jenna Thorne returns and is second in the Frontier Conference this season in kills (209) and kills per set (3.07). Junior middle blocker Zoe Naugle has 105 kills on the season and is second in the conference in total blocks (82) and blocks per set (1.19).
The Orediggers are second in the conference in total kills (740) and kills per set averaging 11.94. Tech leads the league in blocks with 168 stops at the net and a 2.71 average per set. The Orediggers are third in the nation in blocks per set.
Senior outside hitter Maureen Jessop leads the conference in kills (243) and kills per set (3.92) with a .189 hitting percentage on the season. The two-time NAIA Honorable Mention All-American is ranked sixth nationally in total kills and 16th in kills per set. She has double digit kills in 14 of the 18 matches this season with a high of 22 against Vanguard at the Big Sky Volleyball Challenge. Jessop also leads the conference in aces with 26 for the year. Jessop is also averaging 2.71 digs per set.
Senior middle blocker Taylor Henley leads the conference and the nation in total blocks (92) and blocks per set (1.48). Henley has 140 kills on the season averaging 2.26 per set. She is second in the Frontier in hitting percentage hitting at a .297 on the season.
Transfer sophomore libero Jelena Jablanov leads the Orediggers on the defensive side with 247 digs averaging 3.98 per set. Jablanov, from Novi Sad, Serbia, joined the team this year from Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington, Wyoming. She is fourth in the conference in total digs this season.
The Orediggers went 3-1 at the Frontier Conference Preseason Tournament in Billings last week. The matches did not count in the conference standings.
The first home match for the Orediggers is next Wednesday September 28th when the Orediggers host Carroll College at 7 p.m. at the HPER Complex.