Bobcats drop three sets to Thunderbirds

The Montana State Bobcats hosted the Southern Utah University Thunderbirds Thursday night. Southern Utah out-blocked the Bobcats 12-2 and walked away with a 3-0 win in Shroyer Gym.

The Cats started off slow in the first set, and the Thunderbirds quickly racked up points without committing a hitting error. The Thunderbirds finished the set off with a score of 25-21 to take the first set. “We keep talking about preparation,” Head Coach J.J. Riley said. “We have to get in the right mindset from the beginning.”

The Thunderbirds came out in the second set similarly to the first, out-hitting the Bobcats .273 to .094 and cruising to a 25-19 victory.

Montana State started off strong in the third set, jumping out to an early 8-5 lead. The Thunderbirds slowly narrowed the deficit however, and with the score tied at 15 the Thunderbirds took their first lead of the set and ran with it. The Thunderbirds outscored the Bobcats 10-4 in the final stretch to take a 25-19 victory in the third set.

“We keep talking about preparation,” Riley said. “We have to get in the right mindset from the beginning … Our struggle has been being consistent throughout,” Riley continued. “We need to focus and keep communicating during and between plays.”

Junior outside hitter Loni Kreun and senior middle blocker Natalee Godfrey both led the Bobcats offensively with 12 kills apiece. Defensively, two of the Bobcats landed in double digits for digs as sophomore defensive specialist Kasey Altman led with 14, and freshman outside hitter Natalie Passeck contributed with 10. “We need to work on moving on from our mistakes,” Altman said. “We’ll make one mistake, and then make three more. We just need to move on and focus on the next play.”

The Bobcats continue their homestand against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks on Saturday, Oct. 10. “We just need to work on executing,” Altman said. “If we lose a point, just move on to the next one and keep up momentum.” The Cats will host the Lumberjacks at 12 p.m. in Shroyer Gym.