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Bulldog volleyball notches first conference win

UMW News Bureau

The University of Montana Western Bulldogs volleyball team won their first conference match of the season on Thursday, Sept. 29 against the Montana Tech Orediggers at the HPER Center in Butte, Mont. in four sets, 25-17, 25-18, 10-25, 25-20. By Lowell Peterson The University of Montana Western Bulldogs volleyball team won their first conference match of the season on Thursday, Sept. 29 against the Montana Tech Orediggers at the HPER Center in Butte, Mont. in four sets, 25-17, 25-18, 10-25, 25-20. Montana Western broke a 4-4 tie in the first set with a six-to-one run to go up by five points on two kills by Kayla Schmid and four hitting errors by the Orediggers. Tech fought back to get within two points at 17-15, but the Bulldogs finished strong to win the set. Set two was a back-and-forth battle before Montana Western, ahead 12-11, went on a nine-to-three run to take control and win the set by seven points. Schmid and Emily Erickson had kills to start the run and Erickson also had an early service ace. Erickson’s kill was the final point of set two. The Bulldogs came out in set three and took a quick 3-1 lead, but would score only seven more points the rest of the set. The Orediggers scored ten straight points to take command at 11-3 and never let up. Excellent receptions and digs led to numerous kills and victory as game momentum clearly swung to Tech. As quickly as the Orediggers had gained momentum in the third set, it switched back to the Bulldogs in set number four. Montana Western jumped out quickly and were ahead 9-2 before Tech fought back to cut the score to 13-10. Three straight blocks by Bailey Branson and Charelle Minor started an eight-to-four run by the Bulldogs as they took control of the set. Kills by Susanne Rehse and Branson gave the Bulldogs their last two points and victory for the first time in a conference match. Schmid and Branson each had 10 kills for the Bulldogs and Minor was right behind them with nine. Paige Latimer topped the team in assists with 31 and Shelby Mack and Latimer had 14 digs each. Minor was involved in a team high five blocks. Shersteen Cline led the Orediggers in kills with 11 and Michelle Hardy (17) and Kiara Ross (13) were the assist leaders. Hardy and Ross were also the digs leaders with 15 and 11, respectively. Korey Krumm led the way in blocks with four. The conference victory was the first for the Bulldogs since a Nov. 7, 2008 win in Dillon against the University of Great Falls. Montana Western had lost 30 straight conference matches since then and the Bulldogs were elated after ending the conference losing streak. “Obviously, it’s great to come out and get our first conference win against a rival on Homecoming week,” head coach Lisa Griffiths said. “A lot of people performed well. Shelby Mack passed phenomenally and played great defense. Paige Latimer ran our offense and had 14 digs, which is great for a setter in a four-game match.” Montana Western improved to 1-6 in conference play and 6-12 overall. Montana Tech fell to 0-7 and 7-12 on the season. The Bulldogs are off for two weeks before their next conference matches, at home against Montana State-Northern and the University of Great Falls on Fri., Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. and Sat., Oct. 15 at 5 p.m.