Griz fall to Cougars in tournament finale
Sep 7, 2013
Washington State defeated Montana and improved to 6-0 with a 25-16, 25-19, 26-28, 25-11 victory over the Grizzlies Saturday afternoon at the Cougar Challenge at Pullman, Wash. Montana finished the tournament 0-3 and dropped to 1-5 on the season.
Sophomore outside hitter Gabby Crowell had 12 kills on .300 hitting, and Montana out-blocked Washington State behind a strong effort at the net by senior Brooke Bray and juniors Natalie Jones and Kelsey Schile, but the Cougars hit .303 and had 65 kills compared to the Grizzlies' 33.
The match was Washington State's third of the tournament, and Montana was the first to take set off the Cougars. WSU swept both Eastern Washington and Texas Tech in straight sets.
"We're playing good teams and really testing ourselves," UM coach Jerry Wagner said. "I just wish we had something to show for it.
"We're continuing to add things, and when that becomes consistent, it's going to give us a style and brand of volleyball that is going to carry us in a good direction."
Montana, which is hitting .210 for the season, was limited to .097 hitting by Washington State, the Grizzlies' lowest percentage of the year. Crowell was the lone player to hit better than .100, and her 12 digs gave Crowell her second straight kills-digs double-double.
Senior libero Megan Murphey had 15 digs and two of Montana's three service aces, and Bray, Jones and Schile all had five blocks. Senior Kortney James had 18 assists and 11 digs; freshman Raegan Lindsey added a season-high 10 assists.
Washington State, which hosts South Dakota Saturday night in the tournament's final match, had four players who had 11 or more kills. All four hit .250 or better.
The Cougars hit .333 in winning the first two sets, but the Grizzlies continued to battle and won the third by hitting .262 and limiting WSU to .185. Crowell hit .462 in the third set and had eight of Montana's 15 kills as the Grizzlies rallied back from a 19-13 deficit and fought off two match points.
Washington State hit .429 to cruise to the set-four victory.
The match was the sixth straight to open the year for Montana without the services of redshirt freshman defensive specialist Sadie Ahearn, who injured an ankle prior to last weekend's season-opening tournament at Virginia.
"We feel like we can go to quite a few people now to get the job done," Wagner said. "When we add that final piece in Sadie, I think we'll be on to something."
Montana will face Texas Tech, Cal State Fullerton and Nevada next weekend at Texas Tech's tournament at Lubbock, Texas.
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