The No. 23 Montana Tech Orediggers won their seventh consecutive match, and sixth on the road, as they upset No. 17 Carroll College 3-2 on Thursday in the PE Center.
Carroll had jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Montana Tech responded by winning three consecutive sets.
“We had a few things we didn’t do great in the first few sets,” Tech coach Brian Soloman said. “I thought our intensity picked up. Sometimes you play hard and you play great. Sometimes you get a couple of errors. We were fortunate our blocking picked up. We were able to do a good enough job that we were able to force them into some different shots.
“I thought our serving pressure really dictated the last three sets. That’s something I think it is a strength for us. We were able to see it through in a big game for us.”
Tech (16-7, 4-3 Frontier Conference) had leads in the first few shots only to see Carroll claw its way back and seize control late. But Carroll’s 35 errors, many unforced, were ultimately the Saints' undoing. The Saints started off-kilter and could never shore up their game.
“It seemed like all of our chemistry didn’t show up tonight,” Saints coach Moe Boyle said. “I feel like tonight was six individuals instead of a team on the floor. That’s the first time we’ve felt that way.
The Saints (17-5, 5-2) grabbed an 8-5 lead in the fifth set before the teams switched sides, but Carroll couldn’t finish.
“We started off with six errors,” Boyle said. “In the fifth set, we gave them the last six. Four kill errors and two receiving errors to end it.”
After winning the first two sets 25-23 and 25-18, the Saints fell to Tech 25-15, 25-21 and 15-12.
“Really, we just wanted to do our job well,” Soloman said of his team playing in a pressure-filled, Top 25 matchup. “Everybody gets caught in the moment every once in a while, but as long as you stick to your assignments, you’ll do well.
“I think we’re set up for a big game Saturday. The Frontier has been such a challenge. Certainly any day you sure up with less than your best, other teams will beat you. We need to rest up. We’re a little beat down and beat up after this one.”
The Saints have fewer than 24 hours before hitting the court again, a chance to wash away the bad taste in their mouths from the loss.
“I think our unforced errors were significant,” Boyle said. “I hope they’re out of the way. I hope can start now tomorrow for the rest of the season moving in the right direction. We haven’t hit as bad as we did tonight, even from the start. Girls have to regroup and come tomorrow. The nice thing is we do play tomorrow and see what we can do.”
The Saints host Lewis-Clark State College (7-10, 2-5) Friday. Tech plays LC State on Saturday.
“We’re confident in our game,” Boyle said. “We were just off tonight.”