The MSU Volleyball team took to Shroyer gym for the first time Tuesday night, and barely fell three sets to two against the visiting Seattle University Redhawks. The Redhawks came into Bozeman with a 6-4 record and a block that has been dominant all season despite arriving on a two-match losing streak. The Bobcats on the other hand came into the contest hot off a successful sweep in Missoula over UTEP and CSU Bakersfield. Yet the momentum of last week didn’t transition over to Tuesday night where the Bobcats struggled to find consistency. Head Coach Daniel Jones explained, "Seattle U is a good team, and against good teams you have to be at your best." Despite it not being their best, the Cats gave an impressive effort, winning two sets and competing well in each of the other three sets.
Senior outside hitter Evi Wilson lead MSU in kills with 15 followed by junior outside hitter Hannah Scott with 14 and freshman outside hitter Kira Thomsen delivering 13. Kelsie White, a junior blocker, led the team with seven blocks while senior libero Allyssa Rizzo showed a strong presence with a game high 25 digs. Both Big Sky All-Academic Honorees from a year ago, White and Rizzo are players that MSU will be relying on heavily to perform and lead the team throughout the year, especially with conference play starting next week.
Coach Jones further expressed his discomfort with Tuesday’s performance along with revealing his focus preparing for upcoming play, saying, "I felt tonight we underperformed. We have to have an 'earn it' mentality. We'll keep putting ourselves in pressure situations during practice and keep working towards winning five-set battles." Learning to thrive in high pressure situations might just be what the Cats need right about now, as next week MSU will be back in Missoula to take on the winless Grizzlies. Despite the Griz struggling this season, it will certainly be a match that they have circled on the calendar. The Cat/Griz rivalry always comes with high emotions, and the Griz will plan to utilize that emotion to their advantage. The Bobcats, on the other hand, will be looking to smother their hopes of a rivalry upset at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 24 in Dahlberg Arena in Missoula. MSU’s next home game will be Thursday, October 3 against the University of Idaho.