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Bulldog volleyball looks to close out regular season

UMW News Bureau

The University of Montana Western volleyball team had a pair of matches last week. On Thursday, Oct. 25, they traveled to Havre, Mont. to take on the Montana State University-Northern Skylights. The Bulldogs returned home to host Carroll College on Saturday, Oct. 27.

The Skylights’ offense came out swinging and never let up, hitting 0.265 en route to sweeping the Bulldogs 25-20, 25-14, 25-15. Montana Western never quite settled in and ended up with a dismal 0.074 hitting efficiency.

Emily Erickson led the Bulldogs with six kills, followed by Breanne Kelley and Brea Mitchell with five apiece. Paige Latimer dished 20 assists and had two aces.

The defense was led by Shelby Mack with eight digs while Erickson and Latimer had seven apiece. Charelle Minor contributed three blocks and was a bright spot with a 0.667 hitting percentage (four kills on six swings).

Northern was led by Joni Nagy with 30 assists and three aces, Hillary Isleifson with 12 kills and Abby Nicholas with 12 digs and four blocks.

On Saturday, the Carroll College Saints ended a four-match home winning streak for the Bulldogs. The Saints were able to pull away with a 25-16, 25-23, 25-23 sweep.

Carroll was led by Calli Prestwood with seven kills, Elli Graff and Sarah Roshak with five blocks apiece, Natalie Stewart with 17 assists and Rebecca Sweeney with 19 digs.

Bailey Branson had a match-high 12 kills for the Bulldogs and Emily Erickson had her fifth double-double of the season with 11 kills and 10 digs. Brea Mitchell added nine kills and three blocks while Shelby Mack picked up 29 digs. With nine digs and 33 assists, Paige Latimer just missed a double-double.

“We didn’t have a great week of practice and that showed in our games,” senior co-captain Shelby Mack stated. “We are back to work this week with intent and focus. There are a couple things we need to iron out but I’m really excited for our last two regular season games heading into the conference tournament.”

With the conference tournament only a week away (Nov. 8-10) there is only one spot locked up and that is Dickinson State University at the very bottom of the pile. Carroll, MSU-Northern, the University of Great Falls and Lewis-Clark State all still have a shot at the title and will most likely be the top four. Fifth through eighth place will be determined between Montana Tech, Westminster, Rocky Mountain and Montana Western.

The Bulldogs will host Montana Tech on Thursday, Nov. 1 and Lewis-Clark State College on Friday, Nov. 2. Montana Western looks to avenge both teams as they lost in five sets to Montana Tech in their first conference game on Sept. 6 and in straight sets to LCSC on Sept. 15.

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