MSU volleyball is gearing up for the season after heading out of state to a pair of tournaments that took place in Colorado the last two weekends. At the Amy Svoboda Classic in Colorado Springs, they went 2-1, picking up solid victories against Grand Canyon (W 3-2) and Jacksonville State (W 3-1). Their only loss at the tournament came against Air Force (L 2-3) in a hard fought match that saw dominance from the Cats at the net as they out-blocked the Falcons 10-4. Coach J.J. Riley sounded enthusiastic about the team thus far, saying, “I think everyone at some point has done something great for us. I see everyone contributing and different players stepping up at different times to help us achieve success.” In the final match against Jacksonville State, Freshman Savannah Laws and junior Kiana Black closed off the net with 6 and 5 blocks, respectively. Freshman libero Allyssa Rizzo finished a great tournament with a match high 25 digs.
After a good performance at Amy Svoboda, the volleyball team traveled back to Colorado Sept. 2-3 for the Pioneer Classic in Denver. The competition proved to be much more intense as they dropped each of their matches against Utah State (L 0-3), Denver (0-3) and No. 20 Loyola Marymount (L 0-3). The ladies held their own against LMU, tying the set at 16 apiece after being down 14-10. They tied the set eight more times until they fell to a service error and a kill from LMU’s Sarah Sponcil to end at 28-26. Despite the losses, Riley saw improvement noting that, “We are blocking better, hitters are hitting high with range and we are showing better composure and communication on the court when we are being stressed by the opponent.” Rizzo went in for 10 digs against the Lions, while sophomore Chase Doughty led the team with eight kills. Junior middle blocker Audra Dugan had a match high five blocks.
The team has the next two weeks to prepare for a very tough tournament in Nebraska. They will be facing some high ranked heavyweights in Nebraska, Gonzaga and Creighton. The cats host their first home match against Idaho on Sept. 22.