ON THE ROAD AGAIN:
After playing four consecutive weekends away from the confines of Shroyer Gym, the Bobcats enjoyed its home and Big Sky Conference openers last Thursday night. Montana State’s brief home appearance was short lived as the Cats venture back out on the road beginning Tuesday night at Montana. The first Brawl of the Wild match-up will be held tomorrow in Dahlberg Arena beginning at 7 p.m. Montana State will close out the week at Northern Colorado, Friday, Sept. 28 at 6 p.m., in Greeley. MSU will conclude the road stretch at Northern Arizona on Oct. 4 and Southern Utah on Oc.6.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THIS WEEK’S OPPONENTS:
Montana is off to a 2-0 start in Big Sky Conference play after sweeping Sacramento State and Portland State last weekend in Missoula. Mykaela Hammer paced the Griz averaging 4.88 kills and 2.50 digs per set, while hitting .443 from the field. Overall, UM is 5-9 on the season and is currently riding a three match win streak. Northern Colorado is 5-6 overall and 1-1 in Big Sky Conference action. Over the weekend, the Bears were swept by Idaho (3-0), before turning the table and downing Eastern Washington (3-0). Both matches were played in Greeley. On the season, Northern Colorado was been led by Kortney Lockey, who is averaging 3.66 kills and 3.18 digs per set.
Opponent: Montana (12,500)
Head Coach: Allison Lawrence
2018 Record: 5-9 overall; 2-0/Big Sky
Opponent: Northern Colorado (12,000)
Head Coach: Lyndsey Oates
2018 Record: 5-6 overall; 1-1/Big Sky
* MSU is 56-55 in its all-time series with the Griz going back to the 1975 season
* Tuesday's match at UM will be the 112th meeting. MSU has won five of the last seven
* Last year the Bobcats swept Montana for the first time since 2005
* Allyssa Rizzo is the 1st MSU player to win back-to-back BSC Defensive POW honors
* Junior libero Allyssa Rizzo is seventh on MSU’s career digs list with 1,144 saves
* Rizzo leads the Big Sky averaging 5.66 digs per set, which ranks 11th in the nation
* Thirteen of MSU’s 17 rostered players have been in the program two years or less
* Montana State is averaging 1,008 fans per match, which ranks 51st in the nation
Junior libero Allyssa Rizzo earned her second consecutive Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week honor after averaging 7.33 digs per set against Portland State and Sacramento State. On the weekend, the product of Crestwood, Ill., posted 66 digs, going over the 30 dig plateau in both matches. In Montana State’s 3-2 win over Portland State, Rizzo recorded a career-high 34 digs. She followed that with a 32-dig performance against Sacramento State. Against the Hornets, Rizzo averaged a whopping 8.00 digs per set. She opened the first set against the Hornets with 11 saves. Rizzo leads the Big Sky averaging 5.66 digs per set, which also ranks No. 11 in the nation. Two weeks ago, Rizzo won the weekly award after averaging 5.50 digs per set. In her third season as MSU’s starting libero, Rizzo has notched 1,144 career digs and is listed seventh on MSU’s all-time career digs chart.
As a unit Montana State’s outside hitters manned the pins last weekend producing 77 kills, while hitting .200 from the floor. In addition, the threesome tallied 48 digs and 14 blocks. Evi Wilson led the way averaging 3.00 kills per set with a .151 attack mark. The Vancouver, Wash., native recorded a career-high 19 kills in MSU’s 3-2 victory over Portland State. Sophomore Hannah Scott averaged 3.00 kills per set while taking 70 swings over the weekend. The Hawthorne, Calif., product also led the outside hitting contingent with 21 digs. Natalie Passeck returned to the MSU rotation and recorded 23 kills, 21 digs and two blocks, while hitting .261
As a team, the Bobcats rank in the top five in six Big Sky Conference statistical categories. MSU is ranked fourth in digs per set (16.17), team digs (857), total attacks (1,904) and team aces (70). They are ranked in the league in attacks per set (35.92) and team kills (641). Montana State is also ranked among the top 100 in NCAA Division I in digs per set (62nd) and team digs (76th). Individually, Allyssa Rizzo ranks among the best liberos in the nation. Her 5.66 digs per set not only leads the Big Sky Conference, but ranks 11th nationally. Rizzo is also ranked 18th in the nation in total digs and 64th in aces (20). Sophomore middle blocker Kelsie White is listed 112th in the nation averaging 1.14 blocks per set. Her 58 total blocks is 87th in the nation.
HARD BLOCK CAFE:
Last season in MSU’s win over Pacific, freshman Kelsie White notched 15 blocks, including 14 block assists. The 14 blocks assist was a Bobcat school-record, breaking the mark of 13 held by Karen Weyler (1994) and Mindy Nowak (1998). The 15 blocks were the second highest total in the nation last fall, and White’s 1.08 blocks per game were the 13th best average produced by a freshmen in the country. The Layton, Utah native is currently ranked 112th in the nation in blocks per set, while her 58 total blocks are 87th overall.
THE RIGHT STUFF:
The Bobcats ended the 2017 season ranked No. 213 in the final RPI, which was a 46-spot leap up the rankings from 259 at the end of the 2016 season. In all, the Bobcats defeated five teams ranked higher than themselves in the final RPI, including No. 71 North Dakota, No. 99 Pacific, No. 151 Gonzaga, No. 164 Utah State and No. 182 UC Santa Barbara.
Six Bobcat players that received All-Big Sky Conference Academic accolades in 2017 return to the MSU rotation. They include Lexi Goroski, Libby Christensen, Sydney Mathison, Hannah Scott, Allyssa Rizzo and Kelsie White.
Senior Natalie Passeck is closing in on becoming just the 16th member of Montana State’s 1000-Kill Club. The last member of the club, Kim Stonehouse, made the list in 2006. Here’s a look at MSU’s all-time career kills list.
- 1. Diane Terrall, 78-81.......... 1,451
- 2. Brandy Anderson, 95-98... 1,380
- 3. Maggie Koughan, 82-85.... 1,328
- 4. Stephanie Laya, 97-00 ..... 1,260
- 5. Meggie Malyurek, 02-05.. 1,136
- 6. Moyra Ditchfield, 80-83.... 1,135
- 7. Kim Stonehouse, 03-06.... 1,129
- 8. Megan Zanto, 02-05......... 1,128
- 9. Kim Steffel, 89-92............ 1,108
- 10. Michelle Usitalo, 81-84..... 1,060
- 11. Cori Carper, 96-99............ 1,058
- 12. Mindy Nowak, 96-99 ...... 1,044
- 13. Stephanie Nowicki, 86-89. 1,033
- 14. Karen Weyler, 94-97........ 1,026
- 15. Aimee Halyk, 99-02.......... 1,014
--- Natalie Passeck, 15---...... 859
Junior Allyssa Rizzo became the just the ninth member of Montana State’s 1,000-Dig Club when she notched 23 saves against Louisiana on Sept. 7. The last member of the club, Kasey Schlatter, made the list in 2014. Here’s a look at MSU’s all-time career digs list.
- 1. Kandice Kelly, 03-06......... 1,720
- 2. Meghan Albiston, 07-10... 1,577
- 3. Nicole Baker, 10-13.......... 1,564
- 4. Kamber Kelly, 01-04......... 1,262
- 5. Meggie Malyurek, 02-05.. 1,223
- 6. Stephanie Laya, 97-00...... 1,183
- 7. Allyssa Rizzo, 16--............ 1,144
- 8. Mindy Nowak, 96-99........ 1,073
- 9. Kasey Schlatter, 11-14 1,059
Sports Information Director
Montana State University