The 17th-ranked Carroll College volleyball team dropped a brutal loss at home Thursday to rival Montana Tech. Less than 24 hours later, the Saints rebounded in a big way to earn the 3-1 win against Lewis-Clark State at the PE Center.
"This is a huge character win for us," coach Moe Boyle said. “We were really off last night and just didn’t play well. To be able to rebound and play the way we did tonight in just 24 hours shows a lot about the character of our team. It is a true team sport. We have 17 players and we’ve got to have everyone in there and everyone was in it tonight.”
Carroll hit a respectable .195 while holding LCSC to .096 on the match. The real dominance came on the block where the Saints notched 16 blocks as a team, the best performance on the block of any Frontier Conference team this season.
“We came to play, our blockers were disruptive to their offense and did a tremendous job,” Boyle said. “Holly Morehouse really sets the tone for our blocking and Brielle (Bumgarner) and Mallory (Arbizzani) did a really nice job. We’ve been all over the place on this and tonight there was a really conscience effort of doing our job well on the block. Even Jonni (Dorr) and Ayla (carpenter) got some serious touches on blocks tonight.”
Bumgarner had a team-high 5 blocks, Morehouse notched 3.5 and Arbizzani had 3.
The Saints set the tone early and that came on the block. The Saints took the first point and it came on a block from Arbizzani, the Saints notched five blocks in the first set.
The Warriors built a 3-1 lead but a 14-3 run gave Carroll all the momentum as they cruised to a 25-13 win. The next two sets would be a lot tighter.
The second set was a back-and-forth battle but, leading 14-13, the Saints would go on a 7-2 run to build a 21-15 lead. Carroll looked to be in control but the Warriors would battle back. Trailing 24-18, LCSC made a 6-1 run to cut it to 24-23 but a Morehouse block would give Carroll the 25-23 win.
LCSC rode the late set-two momentum into Set 3 and started 3-0 before the Saints notched four straight points of their own. Neither team would have more than a three-point advantage for the rest of the set. Carpenter would notch the game at 23-all with a kill but the Warriors close with two straight points to win the set 25-23.
The fourth set would be all Carroll. The Saints opened the match with a 10-3 run and rolled the rest of the way to the 25-19 win.
Morehouse notched a team-high 14 kill with a .263 hitting percentage. Paige Montgomery had 11 kills with a .185 percentage. Dorr tallied 32 assists and Natalie Kassa had 20 digs. Dorr and Carpenter also had 15 digs and Rayna Pilgeram added nine.
The digs were a big part of the Carroll win. LCSC All-American candidate Kennadie Clute had 58 attacks and notched 21 kills but was also forced in 14 errors and an atypical .121 hitting percentage.
“Natalie and Rayna digging the ball,” Boyle said. “Kennedie Clute hits the ball tremendously and some of the balls they were getting off of the ground were incredible.”
The Saints remain in first place in the Frontier Conference standings at 18-5 and 6-2, a game clear of Rocky Mountain and Montana Tech in the loss column. Carroll hits the road for three consecutive matches before closing the season at home against the Rocky Mountain College. The first match is against MSU-Northern Friday in Havre.
“We’ve been on the road a lot and that’s not to say we are taking any of those teams lightly but we are going to get ready to play MSU-Northern and go from there,” Boyle said.