Bobcats fall to Gonzaga

The Montana State University volleyball team ended its six-match losing streak in the Bobcat Classic by shutting out University of Akron 25-14, 25-20, 25-18, before dropping a 25-21, 25-17, 25-20 match against the University of South Dakota (USD), who went on to win the tournament.

Against Akron, Montana State (2-9) hit a season-high .260 from the field, while holding Akron (5-4) to only 51 total points. The Bobcats performed well from the service line, hitting a season-high ten aces.

“We were serving tough,” said MSU Head Coach Kyle Weindel. “We were efficient on offense and our top point producers got it done. It was a relief to finally win a match in straight sets, and it was much needed.”

MSU freshmen Loni Kreun and Kennadie Klute posted 14 and 12 kills while freshman setter Anna Sykora had 34 assists. Senior libero, Nicole Baker, led the Cats defensively with 14 digs, while matching a career-high four aces. Sophomore middle blocker, Natalee Godfrey, also gave the Bobcats a charge with five kills and three aces.

In the final match of the Bobcat Classic, USD (8-3) out-hit Montana State .278 to .096, while also holding an 11-0 advantage in blocking.

Clute and Kreun paced the Bobcats with 14 and 11 kills, respectively against USD. “South Dakota is very good and we’re the fourth Big Sky Conference team they’ve beaten this fall,” Weindel said.

“I think we saw glimpses of how well we can play. The only thing we can’t do fast enough is get experienced. Practice is one thing, but it’s the match where you gain the most,” Weindel said. “I don’t want to see the kids frustrated. It will take a little time. Now it matters as we head into Big Sky Conference play next weekend.”

USD won the Bobcat Classic with an undefeated 3-0 record. The Coyotes were led by tournament MVP Kendall Kritenbrink. Also named to the All-Tournament team were Tori Kroll of USD, Baker of MSU, McKayla Ferris of Gonzaga and Kelsey Wilson of Akron.

Bobcat volleyball will open league play on Friday, Sept. 20 when it hosts North Dakota at 7 p.m. in Shroyer Gym.