Jackets Look for First Conference Win on Friday (Oct.
BILLINGS, MT – The MSU Billings volleyball team has
played 15 of its 20 matches this season on the road, but the Lady Jackets
will finish with six straight matches at home starting with Friday’s
meeting with Chaminade. The Yellowjackets enter the weekend 4-16 overall
and 0-7 in the Pacific West Conference. After Tuesday’s upset of 17th-ranked
Hawaii Pacific, Chaminade is 9-9 overall and 4-3 in the PacWest.
The Yellowjackets and Silverswords will face off in a
PacWest Conference match on Friday at 7:00 at Alterowitz Gymnasium. They
will meet again in non-conference action on Saturday at 7:00. Both
matches are important to each team, but for drastically different
reasons. Chaminade is trying to stay alive in its bid for a second
straight NCAA Tournament berth and probably needs to win the rest of its
matches to have a chance of getting into the tournament. MSU Billings is
seeking a measure of respect having not beaten a conference opponent this
season. The Yellowjackets’ next victory will also tie head coach Pa’ulasi
Matavao with Tricia Nielsen for the most wins by a Yellowjacket
volleyball coach at 38.
MSU Billings is coming of a four-game win at Rocky
Mountain College last week in which Olivia Munro (Jr., Toronto, Ontario) pounded out a season-high 30 kills. Munro ranks
ninth in the PacWest at 3.74 kills per game. Alberta Letoa (Fr., Laie, HI) has become the Yellowjackets’ key passer and is sixth in
the conference for digs per game at 3.27. She had a season-high 25 digs
against Rocky last week and has become more effective since setter Kari Jones (Jr.,
Hermiston, OR) returned from injury, allowing Letoa to focus on her
While the Yellowjackets’ offense has struggled most
of the season—they are last in the PacWest for team hitting percentage
(.128) and kills per game (12.35)—the defense has played well at times.
MSUB ranks third in the conference for blocks per game at 2.22 and fourth
for digs per game at 16.52.
Munro also ranks in the PacWest’s top ten for digs,
sitting eighth with a 3.12 average. Up front, three Yellowjackets are
among the conference’s top ten blockers. Katrina
Dahlgren (Sr., Missoula, MT) is tied for third in the PacWest with
1.02 blocks per game, followed by Cortney Metzler (Jr., Roundup, MT) in sixth with 0.98 bpg and Brittany
Uffelman (Sr., Thermopolis, WY) in tenth at 0.76 bpg.
Chaminade features the conference’s most prolific
hitter in Kahala Kabalis. Her 20 kills against Hawaii Pacific helped her
take over the conference lead for kills per game at 4.69. Playing
opposite of Kabalis is the PacWest’s eighth-best hitter in Valasi Sepulona
who averages 3.92 kills per game.
The two matches against Chaminade will be the first
two of four matches the Yellowjackets will play in five days. They will
host Hawaii-Hilo on Monday and Tuesday with both matches starting at