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Montana State volleyball takes No. 7 Washington to the wire before falling in five sets

Montana State volleyball takes No. 7 Washington to the wire before falling in five sets

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SEATTLE – Montana State had No. 7 Washington on the ropes late in the fifth set before the Huskies rallied for a 26-28, 25-17, 22-25, 25-11, 16-14 volleyball victory on Thursday afternoon in the Washington Invitational.

Montana State (4-6) held an 11-7 lead late in the fifth set before the Huskies (6-1) rattled off five consecutive points, taking their first lead at 12-11 on a Madi Endsley kill.

After an MSU timeout, freshman Jordan Radick delivered a kill from the middle to even the contest. The frame was tied two times down the stretch, with the Bobcats fighting off a UW set point on a Hannah Scott kill.

The Huskies took a 15-14 advantage on a kill by first-team All-American Samantha Drechsel and won the match on a Shannon Crenshaw service ace that dribbled off the tape and found the floor.

It's the first time in school history the Bobcats have gone five sets against a ranked team. Montana State has never defeated a top 25 opponent.

“I’m just super proud of our effort,” MSU coach Daniel Jones said. “We have a lot of mixed emotions right now. On one hand, we’re thrilled to have put up a good fight, and not get beaten down, but we’re completely bummed we had the seventh-ranked team and let them slip through our fingers.”

Scott, a 5-foot-11 senior outside hitter, was almost unstoppable in playing one of the best matches. She finished with a match-high 17 kills, posting a .400 attack mark, along with nine digs, five blocks and an ace.

“Hannah had the most mature match of her career,” Jones said. “All the way around, she produced big points, played outstanding defense and her blocking was very timely. She really was our spark. I’m proud of her for stepping into that role, it’s something we’ve challenged her on, and she delivered in a big way.”

Also posting double-figure kills for MSU was Thomsen with 10.

“It was a heavyweight fight,” Jones said, laughing. “If you look at the stat sheet, some of our kids didn’t have great numbers, however, all found ways to contribute, and that’s all you can ask.

“Our goal heading into the match was to play fearless volleyball. I thought we played fearlessly the whole way through. We just broke down tactically. In the first set, we outhit them, sided-out at a higher rate and did not back down in the battle.”

Setters Audrey Hofer and Allie Lynch dished 24 and 18 assists. Defensively, Maci Abshier paced the Bobcats with 11 digs. 

“When we scheduled this tournament, we were looking for the equivalent of a NCAA match,” Jones said. “And we got that. Our kids know they can go toe-to-toe with any team in the country.

“A match like this gives us self-belief that if we play to the best of our abilities, we can hang with anyone,” Jones said.

Montana State will conclude play at the Washington Invitational against Fresno State beginning at 2 p.m. (MT) on Friday.

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