The MSU volleyball team hosted a duo of matches at the Shroyer gym last week. On Thursday, Oct. 6, they rallied from a 2-1 deficit against Weber State (11-3, 2,3) to notch a hard-fought 2-3 victory in front of 1,000 fans. On Saturday, Oct. 8, the Cats took on Idaho State, (8-11, 3,3), who snapped their two match win streak.
In the match against Weber State, the aggression and toughness with which the women played proved to be the key to the team’s success. “It was a hard fought match and the girls never wavered from just competing. Our girls were able to make big play after big play because they just focused on what was happening in the moment and believed that they could play at a high level,” said MSU Head Coach J.J. Riley after their impressive performance.
After winning a very competitive and exciting opening set 32-30, MSU fell behind to a 2-1 set deficit, losing 19-25 and 23-25. The women kept their composure, however, and cruised through the 4th set with a comfortable 25-15 advantage. In the final set, the cats again found themselves at an 8-6 setback, but quickly regained the lead and never let go.
Junior middle blocker Kiana Black posted a career-high 20 kills, and a team high seven blocks. There were three other Bobcats with double-digit kills including sophomore Natalie Passeck with 18, freshman Caitlin Lonergan with 15 and senior Alexandra Rader with 10. Junior setter Katie Rutecki and freshman setter Sydney Mathison each dropped a season-high 38 and 28 assists, respectively. MSU out-blocked Weber State 13-10. With the victory against Weber State, the team was able to extend to a two-game win streak after defeating the University of Montana Grizzlies in a dominant performance against the in-state rivals.
In the next cat fight with the Idaho State Bengals, MSU struggled. Most notably, they committed too many attacking errors with 27 compared to ISU’s seven. The Bengals captured the first set 17-25, but the Bobcats fought back to win the second set 25-22. In the end, however, a multitude of offensive errors proved to be costly as Idaho State took the final two sets 25-16 each. Lonergan and Passeck led the way with 16 kills each. Senior Eli Svisco recorded seven kills and senior Alexandra Rader added eight. Freshman libero Alyssa Rizzo had her work cut out for her defensively with a match-high 17 digs.
Overall, the last two games saw improvement offensively and incorporation of new plays on offense. “The whole team is competing very hard in practice every day. Not everyone gets into the games but they have been outstanding in practice which elevates the practice gym and allows us to pull out touch matches like we did against Weber,” Riley said. The Cats will play their next match at University of North Dakota on Oct. 13 at 6 p.m.