MSU volleyball off to strong start with Utah State Tournament title


The Montana State University women’s volleyball team has competed in two tournaments so far this season, winning the title at the Utah State Tournament. They currently have a record of 4-2, with one win and two losses at home, one win away, and two neutral victories.

MSU started their season with the Montana State Bobcat Classic, which took place Aug. 25-26 in Bozeman. They lost their first two matches to Air Force and University of Illinois both with set scores of 1-3, but finished strong with a 3-2 victory over Gonzaga.

The match against Gonzaga brought the Cats their first victory of the season, as well as their first victory under interim head coach Daniel Jones. Junior Natalie Passeck had 17 kills in the match, and several players had career-high games. Both junior Chase Doughty and sophomore Evi Wilson posted career-highs with 14 kills each. Wilson also recorded a career-high 11 digs, and sophomore Sydney Mathison had a career-high 50 assists and 11 digs.

The Bobcats out-hit Gonzaga .239 to .185, and held a 9-2 advantage in aces and a 13-9 lead in blocks. The Cats brought this momentum into the next weekend at the Utah State Tournament, Sept. 1-2, where they finished 3-0. They came out on top over UC Santa Barbara and Utah State both by scores of 3-1, and overcame University of the Pacific in the title matchup 3-2.

Their three victories at the Utah State Tournament gave the Bobcats the tournament title. The Cats played the Pacific Tigers, who were also 2-0 in the tournament, for the title match only 20 minutes after defeating Utah State. It was a close matchup, where MSU won the first set 26-24 before falling 23-25 in set two. They won the third set 25-22 and lost the fourth set 19-25 before claiming their 15-11 victory in the fifth set, winning the title.

Freshman Kelsie White broke a 20-year school record, posting 14 block assists and helping MSU to a strong 20-6 advantage in blocking during the title match. Wilson was the only Montana State player to reach double-digit kills with ten, and sophomore Alyssa Rizzo paced the Bobcats in the back row with a match-high 29 digs.

The team currently holds a winning record, but they have yet to encounter any Big Sky Conference matchups. Their next match will be at home on Sept. 9, starting at 12 p.m. The Bobcats will travel to California Sept. 15-16 for the UC Irvine/Long Beach State Classic, where they hope to continue their win streak, currently at four matches.