Jackets Host Rocky in Home Opener Wednesday (Sept. 16,
BILLINGS, MT – The early-season non-conference
schedule comes to an end for the MSU Billings volleyball team Wednesday
night when they host cross-town rival Rocky Mountain College at Alterowitz
Gymnasium. It will be the 29th meeting between the two
schools, with MSUB holding a 19-9 advantage in the series. Rocky won both
matches in the home-and-home series last year. Match time for Wednesday
is set for 7:00 p.m.
“Any time you have a rival in the same city, it’s an
important match,” said head coach Pa’ulasi
Matavao. “It’s good for recruiting and those types of things when you
can win those rivalry matches. But Rocky’s tough every year. One thing
they do is they always serve us tough. It’s an up game for them so
they’ll play us tough tomorrow. We need to be ready.”
The Yellowjackets have played eight matches this
season—all of them on the road—and are 2-6. They split four matches at
the Clash in the Foothills Tournament in Colorado to open the season
before dropping four straight at the Humboldt State tournament two weeks
The Jackets should be back to full strength after
missing two setters last weekend. Kari Jones (Jr.,
Hermiston, OR) was the starter for the opening weekend, but suffered and
injury that kept her out of practice and competition until this Monday.
Backup setter Natalie Bills (So., Provo, UT) has been recuperating from a shoulder
injury all fall and will be suited up Wednesday for the first time this
season. Freshman Alberta Letoa (Laie, HI) has been starting in Jones’s place and is the
probable starter for Wednesday.
“Both of our setters are back and will be dressed for
Wednesday’s match,” said Matavao. “That’s a big plus. Kari just got
cleared Monday and will be available if we need her, but we may rest her
again so she’s ready for the start of conference play next week. It’s big
that we get them back so the players filling in for them can get back to
their natural positions.”
The Yellowjackets are led by Olivia Munro (Jr., Toronto, Ontario) who has 107 kills in eight matches for a 3.96
kills per game average. She is currently ranked seventh in the PacWest
Conference for kills per game and fourth for digs per game at 3.67.
Middle blocker Brittany
Uffelman (Fr., Thermopolis, WY) leads the PacWest with 1.26 blocks per
game. Fellow middle blocker Katrina
Dahlgren (Sr., Missoula, MT) is fourth in the conference at 1.05
blocks per game.
Also playing a key role for the Yellowjackets is
freshman Jessica Bratton (Casper, WY), who is second on the team with 3.22
kills per game and third on the team with 3.07 digs per game. Cortney Metzler (Jr., Roundup, MT) is averaging 2.44 kills and 1.00 blocks per game. Letoa
is second on the team for both assists and digs with 132 assists and a
3.12 digs per game average.
The Yellowjackets open PacWest Conference play next
Monday when they host defending national champion BYU-Hawaii. MSUB will
host the second-ranked Seasiders on Monday and Tuesday and then play host
to No. 15 Hawaii Pacific on Thursday and Friday of next week.