The Bobcat volleyball team lost to Northern Arizona but shifted momentum to an easy victory over Southern Utah in Shroyer Gym. After these two matches, MSU sits at a 7-12 season record and are currently ranked fourth with a 3-7 Big Sky Conference record.
On Thursday, Oct. 19, senior Kiana Black led the Bobcats with 18 kills and three blocks. Junior Natalie Passeck and freshman Kelsie White also had a strong offensive presence with 14 and 10 kills, respectively. Even with these strong plays, the Bobcats fell to Northern Arizona 23-25, 25-21, 24-26, 12-25. Head Coach Daniel Jones said the team lost because they “lacked in key moments.” Jones went on to say that losses like this are in part due to the stresses of college, saying that these types of challenges are “often overlooked.”
On Saturday, Oct. 21, the Bobcats returned to Shroyer Gym with energy that translated into an offensive triumph of 25-14, 18-25, 25-21, 25-17 against Southern Utah. According to Jones, the team focused on coming out with control over their serves and passes before the match. However, Passeck took this to the next level with a career high of 22 kills and hitting percentage of 500. In Jones’ words, she was “a force of good on the court.”
Senior Audra Dugan rose to the occasion as well with her ability to terminate on the right side with a .625 hitting percentage and six kills. Dugan helped the Bobcats recover from the loss in the second set to the wins of the third and fourth sets. This was a key moment for the Bobcats, as Southern Utah had more aces and was pushing for a second win. Midway through the third set, however, MSU pushed back with “fire and passion,” Jones said.
The Bobcats will hit the road next week to take on Northern Colorado for the second time this season on Oct. 26 and then North Dakota on Oct. 28. Both matches are key to the Bobcats’ future in the Big Sky Tournament. Currently, the tournament is wide-open for all the conference teams as there is no strong leader right now.