Volleyball ties DI record for wins in Montana State romp
BOZEMAN, Mont. -- Julie Stephenson continued her breakout senior year Saturday night, and her teammates threw a block party in Northern Colorado volleyball's fifth straight road win against Montana State.
Stephenson notched her sixth double-double of the year in the 3-1 victory, with a match high 15 kills and 11 digs for the Bears (21-5, 12-1 Big Sky), who recorded a season-best 15.5 blocks and tied a school NCAA Division I record for wins, set last season.
Game scores were 25-21, 21-25, 25-13, 25-19.
The victory dropped the Bobcats to 10-16 and 3-10 this season and kept Northern Colorado in first place in the league standings with three regular-season matches remaining. It also reduced the Bears' regular-season magic number (wins paired with Portland State losses) to three.
"It wasn't our best match, but we battled through it," Northern Colorado coach Lyndsey Benson said. "They exploited some weaknesses in us, and I think that was good. We needed that to keep us guessing and adjusting and not get stagnant."
Sophomore Kelley Arnold continued a torrid stretch with 13 kills on .524 hitting and 17 digs. That's her eighth double-double this season and seventh in her last eight matches.
The Bears, who swept Montana on Friday night to defeat the Griz at home for the first time ever, shot out of the gate Saturday and hit .481 in the game-one win. That was their 15th first-game win this year and their season-best 10th straight game victory.
Montana State evened things up before intermission, but Benson's crew, especially Stephenson, took it to a championship level after the break.
Stephenson, a fourth-year player out of Augusta, Kan., hit .455 the rest of the way (5-0-11) and also had nine digs. She's now slammed down 131 more kills in her final year in Greeley than she did in her freshman, sophomore and junior years combined.
"Julie Stephenson played a great match offensively," Benson said. "She made good decisions, and Montana State definitely had a difficult time stopping her"