After two weeks of five-set heartbreaks, the Montana volleyball team was on the winning end of a five-set match Sunday, upsetting Idaho in Missoula, 25-11, 11-25, 25-18, 24-26, 16-14.
It was just the third win over the Vandals in the past 21 seasons.
"Because we have come up short so much recently, when our moment finally happened it took me a moment to register that it was finally over instead of just almost over," UM coach Allison Lawrence said. "I'm just really proud of our team for so many reasons."
Four consecutive errors gave Idaho a 4-2 lead early in Set 5, but Montana (2-9) jumped back in front, 5-4, behind a solo block from setter Carly Anderson and an ace from Sophia Meyers. After Idaho (4-5) tied the set again at 5-5, Montana took a three-point lead, getting a kill from Peyten Boutwell before back-to-back blocks, with Madi Chuhlantseff being in the mix both times.
With Montana leading 8-5, Idaho called timeout. The Grizzlies maintained pressure, leading by as many as four points, 12-8, before Idaho worked back to tie the set at 13-13. Meyers picked up her career-best 18th kill on the next point, however, to put Montana back on top. Two points later, the Grizzlies again were serving for match point, when Chuhlantseff put down an Idaho overpass to set off the celebration.
"In another tight fifth set, thoughts ran through my head of 'What if we don't do this again?'" Lawrence said. "But I never saw that on our players' faces or in their eyes. The only things they were saying to each other was, 'We're having our breakthrough now' and 'We're going to take this now'.
"For them to be that relaxed, that composed, that aggressive, it just shows our maturity – which is a funny word to say with a team that has so little experience together."
Montana's offense was clicking on the day, recording 54 kills and hitting above .333 in two different sets. The Grizzlies hit .379 in the opener, leading to a 25-11 win, and hit at a .333 clip in a Set-3 victory. Even bigger than Montana's offense, though, was its defense.
The Grizzlies out-dug Idaho by 15.
—UM sports information