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Bulldog volleyball loses opening conference matches

UMW News Bureau

The University of Montana Western Bulldog volleyball team lost their first conference match Friday against the Montana State-Northern Skylights (MSU-N) in four sets (13-25, 19-25, 28-26, 17-25). On Saturday, the Bulldogs were swept in three sets (9-25, 18-25, 19-25) by the University of Great Falls Argos (UGF). By Lowell Peterson The University of Montana Western Bulldog volleyball team lost their first conference match Friday against the Montana State-Northern Skylights (MSU-N) in four sets (13-25, 19-25, 28-26, 17-25). On Saturday, the Bulldogs were swept in three sets (9-25, 18-25, 19-25) by the University of Great Falls Argos (UGF). Even though the Bulldogs lost twice to start conference play, coach Lisa Griffiths saw some positive aspects from the weekend matches. “We faced our first conference challenge this week and I was encouraged with how the team competed against two excellent teams,” Griffiths stated. “The team showed fight and resiliency that will be critical to our success.” On the other hand, Griffiths noted some inconsistencies in Montana Western's game that the team will continue to address in practice before the next matches. Griffiths also singled out the performances of two players in the first two conference matches, Shelby Mack and Jessica Brunett. “Shelby Mack had a great weekend for us, leading our team in digs and anchoring our serve receiving,” Griffiths said. “Her ability to control the floor and keep our team in system defensively gives us an opportunity to score on every play. Jessica Brunett had a breakout weekend. She attacked fearlessly and brought an energy that the team needed.” Against the Skylights, Susan Rehse and Charelle Minor led in kills with eight and Brunett added seven. Paige Latimer had a team high 33 assists. Mack topped the team in digs with 20 and service aces with three. Hillary Isleifson (15), Paige Richardson (14) and Kelsey Williams (13) all reached double digits in kills for the Skylights. Nahe Keanaaina had 47 assists and Williams had three service aces. Holly Cartwright led MSU-N in digs with 21. Against the Argos, Brunett had eight kills and tied Mack with seven digs. Latimer had 14 assists and Michaela Jeffs added seven. Rehse led the team in blocks with three. Alyssa McEwan (11) and Taylor Lucero (10) led UGF in kills. Lucero also had two blocks and Kila Adams led her team in digs with nine. Averi Pasma led in assists with 21 and Adams was second with 15. Montana Western, having played all their matches on the road to date, will finally get to play at home on Thursday, Sept. 15 when they host Lewis-Clark State at 7 p.m. and on Saturday, Sept. 17 when they face Westminster College at 2 p.m. Both matches will be in the Straugh Gymnasium on the UMW campus. “The team is excited for our home opener this weekend,” Griffiths said. “We are in for another challenge facing Lewis-Clark and Westminster but are excited to play in front of our home fans.”
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