Amy Roberts led Montana with 12 kills
Oct. 29, 2011
Portland State won its fifth straight match and took over sole possession of first place in the Big Sky Conference with a 3-1 victory over Montana Saturday night at Portland, Ore., 25-16, 25-19, 22-25, 25-21. The Vikings defeated the Grizzlies for the 16th straight time.
Montana (8-12, 5-7 BSC), which lost in five sets at Eastern Washington Friday night, dropped to seventh place in the Big Sky with three weekends of regular-season matches remaining.
Portland State dominated the match across the board. The Vikings hit .263 and had 16 more kills than Montana, which struggled offensively for the second straight night, hitting .144.
PSU also out-dug the Grizzlies by 11 and had a 14.0 to 7.0 team blocks advantage.
Montana was unable to slow down the outside hitting attack of Megan Ellis and Aubrey Mitchell. The pair combined for 33 kills on .284 hitting. Mitchell also had seven blocks.
"There are no excuses for this one," UM coach Jerry Wagner said shortly after the match. "We weren't as emotionally ready as we needed to be.
"We need to be able to play harder and with more confidence on this trip."
Getting her most swings in over a month in spot duty off the bench, junior Paige Branstiter had seven kills and no errors in eight swings to hit .875.
The Vikings broke free from 10-10 ties in both the first and second sets. Portland State scored three straight points in set one to go up 13-10 and seven straight in set two to take a 17-10 lead.
PSU would not trail again in either set, hitting .351 in the two wins.
Roberts and Branstiter combined for seven kills on .429 hitting in the third set, and Montana had three of its six service aces in its lone set victory.
The Grizzlies extended their solid play into the fourth set and had a 19-16 lead, but the Vikings scored nine of the match's final 11 points to storm back for the victory.
"It's a shame we didn't play the whole match like we did the final two sets," Wagner said.
Montana will host Montana State (3-20, 2-10 BSC) Friday night in the Grizzlies' only match of the week. The Bobcats fell in four sets at Eastern Washington Saturday.
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