The Bobcat volleyball squad made trips to Idaho and Washington to take on two Big Sky Conference opponents late last week. The Cats took on the University of Idaho Vandals and the Eastern Washington University Eagles on Thursday, Oct. 29 and Friday, Oct. 30, respectively.
The Bobcats traveled to Moscow, Idaho on Thursday to take on the Vandals. Montana State struggled with containing the Vandal offense, and Idaho out-hit MSU .383 to .154. The Bobcats jumped to a 7-3 lead in the first set before Idaho evened the score at 10 apiece. The score was tied seven more times before the Vandals pulled away to take the first set 25-19. The Vandals took the second set with a score of 25-19. In the third set, the Vandals jumped out to a 8-1 lead before cruising to a 25-12 victory. “The team came out focused and played really well to start that match versus Idaho but we unfortunately couldn’t sustain it for the whole match,” MSU Head Coach J.J. Riley said. “Idaho did a great job of responding to our quick start and just played steady solid volleyball.” The Bobcats were led offensively by freshman Chase Doughty and Natalie Passeck with nine and seven kills, respectively.
“Any time you can get young players game experience it bodes well for the future especially when they are getting substantial minutes and matches under their belts,” Riley said. “The young players are going to have a much better grasp of life as a Div. I athlete as well as have a better feel for their competition after this season which will help them in their preparation mentally and physically for next year.”
The Cats travelled to Cheney, Wash. to take on the Eagles of Eastern Washington. Montana State came out hot in the first set and took a 1-0 lead with a 25-22 victory. The Cats then jumped ahead in the second set, but a 11-3 run by the Eagles was enough for EWU to come back and take the second set 26-24. The Bobcats rallied in the third set, and took a 2-1 lead with a score of 25-23. Unfortunately for the Cats, the Eagles soared back in the fourth set, dominating and taking a 25-15 victory to even up the score at two sets apiece. In the final set, the Eagles jumped out to an early lead before the Cats took a 12-11 lead. The Eagles finished off the set with a lead to take the deciding set and win 3-2. Senior Natalee Godfrey led the Bobcats with 15 kills and Passeck contributed 13 kills.
“I think Eastern stepped up when their backs were against the wall and played really well in that fourth set,” Riley said. “They were at home, knew they had to win, and they have had some success this season so they buckled down and came out swinging.”
The Bobcats will host North Dakota on Thursday, Nov. 5 in Brick Breeden fieldhouse. “The bottom line is the team has done a great job of working hard and supporting each other all year,” Riley said. “The focus is on getting better everyday and I know this team will continue to focus on that as they have done a great job of it to date.” The game begins at 7 p.m.