The Montana Western volleyball team fell in straight sets to Eastern Oregon (12-25, 18-25, 25-27) to open the season. The Bulldogs (0-1) dropped their first match of the season at the College of Idaho Fall Classic to No. 14 Eastern Oregon (3-2) Thursday night at the J.A. Alberston Activities Center.
The Mountaineers jumped on the Bulldogs early, taking a 10-2 lead in the blink of an eye. EOU took advantage of the Bulldogs shaky start, as simple mistakes proved costly and was all the nationally ranked Mountaineers needed to cruise to a 25-12 first set victory. EOU again jumped out to an early 10-3 lead in the second set, but the Bulldogs began to find a rhythm halfway through and clawed back to trim the lead to 18-13. EOU's Breanna Shaffer had three of her match high 12 kills to help the Mounties seal the set win. By the third set, the Bulldogs had shaken off the off-season rust. Aided by three Danyel Martin kills, the Bulldogs built their biggest lead of the match at 8-5.
Martin finished the match with six kills and an impressive .455 hitting percentage and added two blocks in her collegiate debut. The third set turned into a battle as the teams traded punches down the stretch until three straight attacking errors byt he Bulldogs gave the Mountaineers the 27-25 set win and the match sweep. The Bulldogs hit just .037 percent and committed 23 attacking errors while EOU tallied 48 kills and hit .239 as a team.
Defensively, the Bulldogs were well balanced with freshman Kelsey Goddard and senior Abbey Schwager each totaling 13 digs with Morgan Kirch adding 11. Kaylee Fritz added eight digs and Cady Siemion had seven. Siemion led the team with seven kills, Morgan Stenger had six and freshman Jazi Smith had three. Schwager and Fritz split the setting duties with 12 and 10 sets apiece respectively.
The Bulldogs will look to rebound tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 27, as they match up against The Master's (Calif.) at 11 a.m. and host College of Idaho at 3 p.m. in the second day of the tournament.
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(Press release UMW Sports)