Volleyball squad ends conference losing streak

After a disappointing five-game loss to Montana State (30-11, 23-30, 27-30, 30-20, 15-8) Friday, the Portland State women’s volleyball team defeated Montana (25-30, 30-23, 32-30, 30-24) the following night.

The Vikings (4-2 overall, 1-1 conference) ended a two-year winless Big Sky Conference record Saturday night with a win over the Grizzlies.

Sophomore Richell Wilson led the team with 23 kills and 21 digs and junior Kristina Thom added 19 kills of her own. While senior setter Katie Kaysinger racked up 47 assists.

On Friday night, with the shadow of the last two troubled years hanging over them, the Portland State women’s volleyball team showed Montana State it wasn’t going to be beaten so easily.

Despite losing to Montana State, the team proved they are able to hold their own on the court. Especially when playing at their own Peter W. Stott Center.

The Vikings struggled to pull it together in the first game, at times trailing Montana State by as many as 19. Part of the problem was that the Vikings had trouble finding a way to score.

Montana State had 13 kills in the first game, which helped them edge out the Vikings 30-11. However, the Vikings weren’t about to let Montana State destroy their confidence.

Portland State was able to move the ball around effectively enough to hold off Montana State in the second game 30-23.

Coming into the third game, the Vikings only got better. Unfortunately, Montana State got better as well. PSU fell narrowly 30-27. Portland State led most of the game, but they went serve for serve and kill for kill against a more enthused Montana State team, who was itching for a win on the road.

Montana State pulled ahead to take game four with a score of 30-20, which tied the match at two games a piece forcing a decisive fifth game to be played.

The fifth game is rally scoring to 15 and Montana State took control of the match handing the Vikings a 15-8 loss.

Wilson added an all-around element to the Viking’s game. With 17 kills, one service ace and 12 digs, she demonstrated a renewed spirit and some fresh and talented new faces.

Thom and sophomore Kari Jones combined for over 25 kills and 10 digs. Unfortunately it still wasn’t enough to hold off Montana State.

Head coach Jeff Mozzochi felt that Montana State was a very hard team and was happy with the way his players handled the opposition.

“When we execute our game plan, we can play with any team,” Mozzochi said.

Mozzochi also thought the match was a positive experience and believes there is much to be gained.