Bobcats take on UC Irvine Tournament

Montana State setter Sydney Mathison sets the ball for blocker Kelsie White during an unnamed game in Bozeman. Photo provided by Montana State University Athletics

After hosting the successful alumni match, the MSU Volleyball Team was ready to head to California on Friday, Sept. 15 and Saturday, Sept. 16 for the UC Irvine Tournament. This was a non-conference outing for the Cats, who competed in the tournament of five teams. The Cats played two matches on Friday, Sept. 15, against UC Irvine (UCI) and CSU Bakersfield, and finished Saturday, Sept. 16, at Long Beach State. Although returning without a win, the Bobcats played a tough defense.

In the first match against UCI, the Cats struggled to keep up with a 25-12, 25-12, 25-17 upset. Sophomore libero Allyssa Rizzo kept Montana State in the game with eleven saves in the back, while junior Natalie Passeck led the offense with six kills. MSU outnumbered the Anteaters with six sturdy blocks compared to Irvine’s two. The discouragement of the loss didn’t stop the team from putting up a fight in their next match.

Against the CSU Roadrunners, the Bobcats left the 25-23, 25-16, 25-22 score much closer. Freshman Hannah Scott shined in this game, making a team-high of nine kills, while Rizzo defended with 15 digs and Passeck with 19. The tough defense was almost enough to hold back CSU Bakersfield.

After a day of rest the Bobcats played a close game on Saturday, Sept. 16 at Long Beach resulting in a close 22-25, 21-25, 25-14, 25-14,15-5 game. The Cats showed up determined and took the first two matches. LBSU retaliated in the next two matches, and although the Bobcat defense stayed strong they couldn’t keep up with LBSU’s .409 hitting percentage. Ultimately, the 49ers took the fifth set after the Cats started the match with a 3-1 advantage.  

The Bobcats are looking strong this season despite the outcome at the UCI/Long Beach Tournament. Their overwhelming victory at the Utah State Tournament will hopefully stand as a precursor for the start of the Big Sky Conference this Thursday, Sept. 21, in Moscow, Idaho as they take on the University of Idaho Vandals.