Volleyball plays another five-set battle that narrowly fails in Montana

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BILLINGS, Mont. – For the fifth time this season, the Western Oregon University volleyball team has played all five sets in a game. On Thursday night, Wolves held a 2-1 lead before Montana State Billings rallied to the 3-2 victory (25-21, 23-25, 17-25, 25-17, 15-6) in the action from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. inside the Alterowitz gymnasium.

In the first set, WOU (2-9, 0-4 GNAC) took a 3-2 lead with Lauren Smith and Isabelle Hurliman the count kills. Following a service as by Aubrey stanton, Wolves led 8-5. Montana State Billings (5-8, 2-3 GNAC) turned around and took the lead 17-13. After WOU recorded the next point, the Yellowjackets scored the next five points to take the lead to 22-14. WOU made a final push, coming back with seven of the next eight points to get closer to two. Hurliman, Madison Hornback and Makenzie york all points counted around a few MSUB errors which brought WOU down to 23-21. The Yellowjackets then closed the set with a kill and an offense error for the 25-21 opening set victory.

MSUB took a 5-2 lead in the second set. The Yellowjackets kept pushing to take the 10-5 lead. Led 11-7, WOU came back with the next five points to take the lead. Bailee Hartsook started the race with a kill, Bella maclellan added a solo block, then MacLellan and Hartsook combined for a double block to end the rally that left WOU with a 12-11 lead. After a serve error equalized the set, WOU had another big run, this time a variety of 6-0, with Hartsook posting a kill, Stanton a serve ace, MacLellan a kill and after a few mistakes, Stanton finished the run with a service ace who had WOU with an 18-12 lead. MSUB continued to strike back, registering 11 of the next 15 points to take the 23-22 advantage. After a Wolves timeout, WOU responded with the next three points to win the set. Following an attack error, Hartsook managed a kill and then a double block from Stanton and York gave WOU the second set at 25-23 to tie the game to one.

WOU used the momentum from that set and started the third set in a 7-0 run. Hartsook, MacLellan and Smith all scored points because of a few “Jackets” mistakes during the race. WOU continued to press with Ally Henri turn into a service ace then kill from Hurliman and Smith made Wolves have a 12-3 advantage. MSUB looked to get back into the game by responding with the next five points to leave WOU with a 12-8 lead. Smith helped stop the Yellowjackets’ run with one kill and after adding another kill, she combined for a double block with York to push WOU to a 16-8 lead. Wolves would remain in control for the rest of the set with MacLellan registering a kill before a Yellowjackets attack error sent WOU to the third set victory 25-17 and the lead 2-1.

MSUB did not start with a 7-3 lead in the fourth set. WOU came down to three points at 9-6 before the Yellowjackets snatched the next seven points to take a 16-6 lead. Down the home stretch Hurliman pulled in a few kills and a service ace from Smith kept things tight, but it was too much for the Yellowjackets as they won the set at 25-17 to force a decisive fifth set.

In the deciding fifth set, the teams were tied on two starts with Hartsook and Smith registering kills for Wolves. MSUB caught fire after scoring the next eight points to advance to 10-2. York and Hurliman totaled kills over the following points, but the deficit was too large to fill with MSUB closing the set victory at 15-6 and winning the game at 3-2.

In total for the match, WOU had 49 eliminations for 30 errors in 160 chances of reaching 0.119. MSUB recorded 60 eliminations for 30 errors in 158 chances of reaching 0.190. WOU held the advantage in blocks (8-7) and the teams tied in serving aces (9-9). MSUB retained the advantage in assists (53-48) and recoveries (68-59).

Hurliman tried his fifth double-double of the season with 16 kills and 17 digs. Hartsook and Smith added 12 kills each. Smith hit 0.370 for the game with just two errors in 27 total swings. Stanton distributed 38 assists, while on defense, Sophie matlock added 14 digs and MacLellan and York returned four blocks, with MacLellan recording two solo blocks.

Bayli Monck led MSUB with a record 21 kills. Joelle Mahowald added 14 kills and Skylar Reed had 13. Hannah Hashbarger distributed 43 assists, while in defense Christine Funk made 26 digs and Hannah Hayden returned six blocks.

WOU will stay on the road this Saturday as they play Seattle Pacific starting at 2 p.m. ET. The Falcons beat Saint Martin’s in straight sets earlier Thursday.


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