Griz put an end to Reese Court hex
Sept. 28, 2013
The Montana volleyball team bounced back from a 3-0 loss at Portland State Friday night with a 3-1 victory over Eastern Washington Saturday that gave the Grizzlies their first win in Cheney since 1995.
The win snapped the Eagles' 17-match winning streak over Montana at Reese Court and gave the Grizzlies their first win of any kind on the Portland State-Eastern Washington road trip since 2000.
"I gave the team a history lesson on how long it's been and what it was going to take to win tonight, and they responded," said UM coach Jerry Wagner, who has freshmen on his team who were born the same year the Grizzlies last experienced a win in Cheney.
"It was fun to be able to coach tonight. It was fun to see the team respond."
After hitting .080 in three-set losses to North Dakota and Portland State, which are showing early signs of being the two best teams in the Big Sky Conference, Montana hit .254 Saturday.
Eastern Washington (5-10, 2-2 BSC) had 10 more kills in the match than Montana, but the Grizzlies, with just 15, had less than half of EWU's 31 hitting errors.
"What was on the (locker room) board tonight was, Take care of your role and your responsibilities, and tonight everybody did their part," Wagner said.
"Everybody bettered the ball tonight. The first pass allowed (setter Kortney James) to direct the offense, and the hitters hit smart all night. Nobody got carried away and went for something that wasn't there. We went with what was there and trusted that that was the right thing to do."
After getting rolled hard and early by Portland State on Friday, Montana delivered the first strike on Saturday. The Grizzlies jumped out to an 8-3 lead and never trailed in the opening set, and broke free from a 19-19 tie in set two by scoring five of the set's final six points.
The Eagles hit .324 in set three, their only set hitting better than .171 and the only set Montana didn't hit at least .240, for their only win. The Grizzlies hit .344 in the final set and used a 4-0 run to break free from an 8-8 tie and held the lead the rest of the match.
"It wasn't easy to come back from last night, but I've got a good team full of good kids who want to do well," Wagner said.
"They didn't wait around tonight. The first play of the game we came out swinging and delivered the first blow. That set the tone for a very good night. Our readiness level was where it needs to be."
Allie Schumacher led both teams with 16 kills for the Eagles, who hit .167.
Montana will face another challenging road trip next week when the Grizzlies head to Weber State and Idaho State.
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