The Bobcats (10-4, 4-2) hosted a pair of Big Sky Conference volleyball matches last weekend, and emerged victorious in both, climbing into a tie for the third spot in the conference standings and handing the Idaho State Bengals (11-4, 5-1) their first conference loss of the season.
On Friday, the Bobcats squandered their two-set lead and allowed the Bengals to force a deciding fifth set. Junior Sarah Horton scored four kills in the fifth set to help the Cats finish off the Bengals, 25-21, 25-23, 21-25, 22-25, 15-12.
Horton had a double-double, scoring 24 points on 22 kills and 18 digs over the exciting five set match in which the score was tied 24 times. Senior Macy Page added 21.5 points on 19 kills and freshman Eli Svisco put up 14 points on 12 kills and 15 digs.
In her blog “What’s Cookin’?” last week, junior libero Nicole Baker stressed the importance of playing well at home, and this week the rowdy crowd of just over 800 made sure there was “no place like home.”
Baker recorded 20 digs on her home floor in the win over Idaho State, and senior setter Jenn Lundquist added 57 assists in the win. “The setter (Lundquist) is often times overlooked by the media,” said Head Coach Kyle Weindel. “Jenn has done such a great job following the scouting reports and putting her attackers in the best possible scenario to score points for us. That is a characteristic of great setters and Jenn is no different.”
The Bobcats had little time for celebration as the Weber State Wildcats (7-10, 1-5) visited Saturday after a thrilling 5-set win in Missoula for their first conference victory. Though the Wildcats started strong, opening with a 17-10 lead in set one, MSU battled back with a 9-1 run on Taylar Barney’s three kills and two blocks. The Cats wasted no time in closing the door on Weber State, winning in straight sets, 25-23, 25-11, 25-19.
Seniors Macy Page and Barney proved to be too much for the Wildcats. Page put up 14.5 points on 12 kills and Barney scored 11 points on six kills, but it was their blocking ability and emotional leadership that led the Cats to victory. A solo block by Barney won MSU the match and electrified the crowd before roughly 50 children lined up for a special autograph session with the team.
After the match, Coach Weindel praised his seniors, saying, “The entire senior class has done a tremendous job this season leading the team. We rely on them for a ton of points as well as emotional stability. I couldn’t be happier with how things have gone thus far. Their passion for this program is incredible, and it radiates to their teammates.”
The Bobcats travel to Northern Arizona and Southern Utah next weekend for a pair of important Big Sky Conference matches. The Cats host Sacramento State on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. and then the UM Grizzlies come to town Monday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m.