Wildcats outlast Yellowjackets in five-set volleyball thriller - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wildcats outlast Yellowjackets in five-set volleyball thriller

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By CWU Athletics
 
BILLINGS, Mont. -- Senior Meg Ryan (Spokane, Wash./Mead HS) had four of her 13 kills in the decisive fifth set, helping the Central Washington University volleyball team escape Alterowitz Gymnasium with a five-set victory over host Montana State University Billings on Thursday night. Set scores were 20-25, 25-14, 25-17, 14-25, and 16-14.
 
The Wildcats improved to 11-7 overall and evened their Great Northwest Athletic Conference record at 5-5. MSU Billings fell to 9-9 overall and 3-6 in the GNAC.
 
"It was a good team effort to pull out this match," CWU head coach Mario Andaya said. "MSUB did a great job defensively in set one, but our team remained calm and stayed the course. Everyone showed a lot of composure in the fifth set, and it was a good moment for our team to pull a close one out."
 
Ryan, who finished with 13 kills and 17 digs for her ninth double-double of the season, totaled nearly one-third of her kills for the match in the final set while compiling 12 of her 48 attack attempts in the final frame. She scored two of her kills among the first four points of the set as CWU built a 4-1 lead, only to watch the host Yellowjackets rally to tie the score. The Wildcats never trailed in the first-to-15, win-by-two final set, but they did see MSUB tie the score three times, including at 14-14, while needing four match points before earning the victory. Consecutive attack errors by Montana State Billings, the first of which came with Central Washington on serve-receive, enabled the Wildcats to earn the victory and complete a sweep of the season series.
 
The winning team in each of the five sets had a hitting percentage of .200 or better, while the losing squad in each case hit between .000 and .100. Central fell behind in the match 1-0 after committing eight hitting errors in the first set and watching the Yellowjackets accumulate 14 kills -- their single-set high for the night -- in a five-point decision. The Wildcats responded with their two most efficient hitting sets of the match -- with percentages of .286 and .275 -- to earn commanding set wins and go ahead 2-1, but MSUB then hit .276 in the fourth set and returned the favor with a convincing 25-14 win in the fourth.
 
CWU junior Jordan Offutt (Leavenworth, Wash./Cascade HS) had 11 of her match-high 14 kills in the first three sets, hitting at a .429 clip entering the fourth set. Sophomore Erin Smith (Selah, Wash.) had another solid offensive match for the Wildcats, finishing with 12 kills and a .360 hitting percentage, and senior setter Carlee Marble (La Conner, Wash.) joined Ryan with a double-double that included 44 assists and 11 digs. Freshman Kaely Kight (Spokane, Wash./Mead HS), in her fourth straight match as the team's starting libero, had a career-high 21 digs.
 
Montana State Billings matched the Wildcats with three players totaling 10 or more kills, led by Monica Grimsrud's 14 kills in a reserve role. Setter Brooke Tolman had 47 assists, and Erin Compton totaled an astounding 35 digs -- nearly half of the Yellowjackets' team total of 71 digs for the match.
 
Central Washington will remain on the road this Saturday (Oct. 15), traveling to nationally-ranked Seattle Pacific University for a 7 p.m. showdown with the Falcons at Brougham Pavilion. The Wildcats will then play three straight -- and five of their final seven -- at home inside Nicholson Pavilion beginning with an Oct. 22 showdown with Northwest Nazarene University.
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