The Montana State Bobcats traveled to Greeley, Colorado on Oct. 1 to play the University of Northern Colorado Bears. MSU lost the Big Sky Conference matchup 3-0.
The Cats had a tough time getting offense going in the first set against the Bears. UNC started the set scoring 8 of the first 10 points of the set. The Bears defeated the Bobcats 25-19 in the first set and commanded the second set as well with a score of 25-16.
“Against UNC we started off very slow and had a hard time finding our rhythm until the 3rd set,” Head Coach J.J. Riley said. “We talked as a staff and decided that we needed to change something up to help get the team in a better place to compete hard at the beginning.”
The Cats jumped ahead at the start of game three, and at one point held a 19-18 advantage before the Bears outscored them in the final stretch to secure a 25-23 victory. The Bears outhit the Bobcats .250 to .115. “Besides volleyball specific things that we need to get better at, I think figuring out how to get the team going at the beginning was the biggest thing we took away from UNC and this weekend overall,” Riley said.
MSU then travelled to Grand Forks, North Dakota to take on the University of North Dakota. The Cats loss in four sets, 3-1.The Bobcats started well, winning the first set by a close score of 27-25. “The team came out on fire and focused so that was a huge step for us and we need to give the team big kudos for that,” Riley said. “From there it was a well played match by us and statistically we did some great things, the difference was we gave up some runs of points that allowed UND to win the match.” UND went on to win three consecutive close matches with scores of 25-21, 25-22 and 25-19. “The team is growing in their ability to stay focused on the right things and to keep a clear mind when pressured,” Riley said. “Keeping that mind calm and only focused on what will help us during those runs of points is something that we need to get better at and they are doing it. It is tough because it takes time and patience to conquer that mind but the more they do it the less runs of points we will give up.” The Cats will host Southern Utah on Oct. 8 in Shroyer Gym at 7 p.m. “This week we are going to focus a lot on our passing and defense as we are making some switches defensively in regards to where some people will be playing,” Riley said. “We also have more information statistically as we have had a set lineup over the past four matches so we will dive into the numbers to see where we need to get better by rotation defensively and offensively.” The game begins at 7 p.m.