It was Dig Pink weekend for Bobcat Volleyball, with games against the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) Bears on Friday and University of North Dakota (UND) Fighting Sioux on Saturday. The Bobcats struggled in their first game, losing in straight sets 26-24, 29-27 and 26-24 to the Bears. The game shifted for the Bobcats Saturday night with a 15-11 win in the fifth set.
Junior outside hitter Sarah Horton posted double figures both nights with 20 kills against UNC and 17 against UND. Over the course of the three matches last week she had more than double the number of kills of any other player in the Big Sky Conference. Horton is currently leading the conference in kills and points. She has contributed 346 kills so far this season.
“UNC played well, and we made errors during critical moments,” said Taylar Barney middle blocker for MSU. In regards to Saturday’s performance, she added, “We were solid around, and we decided we weren’t going to lose.”
Libero Nicole Baker said last weekend’s losses against University of Montana and Sacramento State were more detrimental to their mindsets than the loss to UNC. After their Friday game against the Bears, they were able to focus their energy onto the next night with satisfaction in their performance.
“We played pretty well and UNC is a good team. Losing is never fun, but we felt confident that if we played that well against UND, we would win the game,” Baker said.
Throughout the weekend against these teams, the Bobcats wore pink jerseys and had pink laces in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness. Barney added, “These were good games for fundraising…it was in support of breast cancer research and recognizing those who struggle with it.”
According to Baker, the team has become very involved with this program which created an exciting atmosphere during the games. “We are all very excited about this season and are focusing on our goal of qualifying for the conference tournament,” she said.
The team made a solid step towards this goal, making a comeback this weekend from their previous losses against Sacramento State and the University of Montana.
With new competition at the doorstep, the team was able to triumph in the end, allowing them to create a new mindset for this weekend’s competition. According to Baker, the team has a goal to become the Big Sky Conference Champion, and the win against UND was an important beginning to the rest of the season.
In order for the team to prepare for the Big Sky Conference, senior setter Jennifer Lundquist said the team watches films of their opponents to familiarize themselves with their tendencies and plays. “It’s unnerving for the other team when we’re calling out their plays before each point, and it helps us refocus before each play,” said Lundquist.
Currently, the Bobcats are ranked fifth in the conference. They share that spot with UND, but having beaten them twice, the Cats are ranked above the Sioux.