VOLLEYBALL EDGES MONTANA IN FIVE-SET BATTLE

Jenna Larson

Idaho State University Sports Information

POCATELLO, Idaho – The Idaho State volleyball team won its second-straight match with a 3-2 win over visiting Montana Thursday evening at Reed Gym. Idaho State connected for a season-high 60 kills to earn the five-set win over the Griz, 25-22, 25-16, 22-25, 17-25, 15-9.

“I’m glad to have a win,” Head Coach Rick Reynolds said. “I’m really proud of the team. We always talk in practice constantly about being a team that can play in the fifth set. We train for the fifth set, and it showed today. You can see the grit from the team, you can see their execution, their belief in the system, the belief in their discipline, and it showed.”

Idaho State (5-13, 2-3 BSC) was led by junior outside hitter Abby Garrity with a career-high 22 kills to go along with 10 digs for her fourth double-double of the season, while senior outside hitter Marissa Dance added 11 for her highest single-match kill total for the season. Sophomore Haylie Keck added a season-high 25 digs, while junior setter Ashlyn Van Every finished with 38 assists and 10 digs for her second double-double of the season.

“My mentality was just to swing hard,” Garrity said. “I’m not a big tipper or roller. I’ve got to go out swinging.”

The Bengals battled with Montana (5-13, 0-5 BSC) in the first set with nine ties and four lead changes, but ISU’s hot hitting and strong serving prevailed. The Bengals finished with 14 kills off 33 swings with four errors to hit .303 for the set while limiting the Griz to hit .235 for 13 kills. The difference in the first set came down to the service as ISU registered six aces over the course of the first set. With the score tied 22-all, Montana committed a hitting error and Garrity and freshman Taylor Meeks closed with a kill apiece to win the first set 25-22.

Idaho State claimed the advantage to begin the second set as well, building a three-point 10-7 lead midway through the set. The Griz battled back to tie the score 13-all, but a 7-0 Bengal run fueled by three-straight Garrity kills gave the Bengals some breathing room, 20-13. ISU outscored Montana 5-3 to close the set and cruised to the second set 25-16 win.

The momentum shifted in the third set in favor of the Griz as ISU committed eight of its 28 hitting errors in the third set alone. Despite a battle from the Bengals, with eight ties and two lead changes, Montana prevailed for the 25-22 third set win to force a fourth.

The Griz kept cruising in the fourth and put together a 12-4 run to disintegrate a 12-all tie and earn a 24-16 advantage. ISU’s Garrity kept the Bengals alive with a late kills, but the Griz put the set away with a kill from Missy Huddleston to win 25-17 and force a fifth set.

“The fifth set is always fun,” Garrity said. “It’s when the pressure kicks in, and it comes down to who wants the ball and who likes that pressure. Our team, we like that pressure and we train for the fifth set.”

ISU’s fifth-set prep showed as the Bengals hit a match-best .421 for 11 kills off 19 swings with just three errors; four of those kills were courtesy of Garrity. Senior Chloe Hirst also stepped up in the final set, adding three of her five total kills in the fifth. ISU raced out to a 10-5 advantage and outscored the Griz 5-4 in the final plays to take the set win 15-9 and earn the match victory 3-2.

The Griz were led by Huddleston with a team-high 13 kills while Mykaela Hammer finished with 12 and Maddy Marshall added 11. Ashley Watkins finished with a match-high 45 assists while Marshall finished with 17 digs.

Idaho State continues play Saturday, Oct. 7 against visiting Montana State at 7 p.m. at Reed Gym.

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