Bobcats fall to North Dakota and Northern Colorado

Despite falling in four sets to North Dakota (UND) on Friday Sept. 20 and Northern Colorado (UNC) on Saturday Sept. 21, the Montana State volleyball team (2-11, 0-2) was pleased with its performance.

“We need to keep focusing on scoring points from different positions. We’re still struggling finishing out a set and sustaining a high level of play throughout a match,” said MSU Head Coach Kyle Weindel. “We need to get better behind the block. We’re struggling to find some points from positions other than our left-sides. Our left-sides can’t carry us every night.”

[pullquote align=”right”]”We need to keep focusing on scoring points from different positions. We’re still struggling finishing out a set and sustaining a high level of play throughout a match. We need to get better behind the block. We’re struggling to find some points from positions other than our left-sides. Our left-sides can’t carry us every night.” — MSU Head Coach Kyle Weindel[/pullquote]

The Bobcats’ only winning set against UND came in the third where they won 25-22 but failed to keep their momentum in the fourth where they eventually lost.

The opening set against UNC on Saturday featured 18 ties and eight lead changes, before UNC (5-6, 1-1) broke away. MSU came to within 23-22 but the Bears held fast on two straight kills by middle blocker Brianna Strong.

Montana State came out swinging after the intermission to take the lead 16-10 in the third set and continued on to claim the set 25-21. After the short Bobcat lead, UNC came back to take the fourth and final set 25-12.

“We have the talent to play with anyone in the Big Sky Conference,” Weindel said. “We need to stop being conservative when things aren’t going our way. It should be just the opposite.”

“We have three freshmen that are starting and I think they have done a really good job of coming and learning our system quickly and what it takes to play at this level. They have all had some pretty big games so far,” said junior defensive specialist/Libero Kasey Schlatter. “We just need to focus on stopping and shutting down the other teams and step up our defense.”

Freshmen outsider hitters, Loni Kruen and Kennadie Clute, made a name for themselves on the team for MSU. Both posted big numbers thus far including an eye-opening 28 kills against North Dakota for Clute.

On Friday night, Kreun registered 12 kills and six digs against the UND. She averaged 3.38 kills and 2.12 digs per set, while hitting .227 from the field to open the Big Sky Conference season for the Bobcats. Kruen notched her third double-double of the season with a team-high 15 kills and 11 digs against UNC. She also posted three blocks against the Bears. For the season, she has tallied 10 double-digit kill matches, including the last four consecutive outings.

Both are looking post even bigger numbers when Montana State travels to Cheney, Wash. to take on the Eastern Washington University Eagles on Thursday Sept. 26.