The Bobcats faced the No. 1 ranked volleyball team in the Big Sky Conference, Thursday, Oct. 15 in Shroyer Gym. Despite a tremendous start, the Cats fell to the Eastern Washington Eagles 3-1.
Montana State started off the first set with eye-opening energy. Opening up on a 5-1 run, the Bobcats set up a lead that would be sustained for the rest of the set. Leading 12-8, the Bobcats went on a firey 7-0 run before the Eagles would score again, securing a 19-8 lead that would be enough to put the EWU away with a score of 25-16. “The girls were focused,” Head Coach J.J. Riley said. “They came out loose and aggressive. I think they believed that they could win and they played like it.”
The Bobcats came out strong once again in the second set, tying the score with the Eagles seven times before establishing a 15-10 lead. The Eagles took the lead after being tied up twice more, and managed to win the set 25-21.
The third set was just as much of a battle as the second. The Eagles managed to snag a late lead however, and came out on top again to win the set 25-23.
The Cats started off slow in the fourth set, giving up five points before scoring. Later, with the score at 10-5, the Eagles went on a 7-0 run to take a 17-5 advantage over the Bobcats. The Bobcats only scored three more times as the Eagles took a commanding 25-8 victory in the fourth and final set. “I think that the biggest takeaway is that the girls can decide what happens,” Riley said. “They can play with anyone if they believe in that.”
The Bobcats were led in both kills and digs by freshman Chase Doughty, who racked up 13 kills and 11 digs. “Chase is a dynamic athlete,” Riley said. “She plays with a lot of intensity and her athleticism allows her to make those big plays.”
“Chase really brings a lot of energy,” senior Natalee Godfrey said. “She hits hard and takes care of business on our side of the net.” Godfrey followed up with 11 kills and sophomore Kasey Altman added 10 digs.
MSU plays the University of Idaho Vandals on Saturday Oct. 17 in Shroyer Gym at 7 p.m.