Volleyball opens sixth Big Sky Conference season
Matches 11-12: Northern Colorado (6-4, 1-1 home) hosts Montana (3-5, 0-1 away) and Montana St. (0-10, 0-5 away)
When: Thursday, Sept. 15, and Saturday, Sept. 17
Where: Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion (2,992)
Live stats: uncbears.com
Radio: uncbears.com (internet stream)
All-time series: The Bears are 7-5 against the Grizzlies (6-5 Big Sky) and 10-3 against Montana State (10-1 Big Sky)
Northern Colorado 7, Montana 5 (in Greeley: NC, 4-1 -- Last five: NC, 4-1)
2004 vs Montana W, 3-2
2006 Montana* L, 3-2
2006 at Montana* L, 3-0
2006 vs Montana W, 3-2
2007 Montana* W, 3-0
2007 at Montana* L, 3-1
2008 at Montana* L, 3-1
2008 Montana* W, 3-1
2009 at Montana* L, 1-3
2009 Montana* W, 3-1
2010 Montana* W, 3-1
2010 at Montana* W, 3-0
Northern Colorado 10, Montana State 3 (in Greeley: NC, 5-1 -- Last five: NC, 5-0)
1981 vs. Montana State L, 0-2
1983 Montana State L, 0-3
2005 at Montana State L, 1-3
2006 Montana State* W, 3-0
2006 at Montana State* W, 3-1
2007 Montana State* W, 3-1
2007 at Montana State W, 3-1
2008 at Montana State* W, 3-0
2008 Montana State* W, 3-0
2009 at Montana State* W, 3-2
2009 Montana State* W, 3-0
2010 Montana State* W, 3-0
2010 at Montana State* W, 3-1
* -- Big Sky Conference match
THE BEARS' LAST TIME OUT:
DENVER -- Northern Colorado Volleyball held Denver to a .074 hitting percentage Tuesday night, scooped 46 digs to the Pioneers' 37 and won the block battle, nine to six, in a straight-sets win at Hamilton Gymnasium.
The Bears (6-4), who start Big Sky Conference play Thursday in Greeley against Montana, swept Denver for the second consecutive year, improved to 28-7 all-time against the Pioneers and won in Denver for the first time since 1997.
Set scores were 25-18, 25-20 and 25-22.
"It's always good to get out of here in three games," Northern Colorado coach Lyndsey Benson said.
Kelley Arnold led the Bears with 10 kills and 10 digs for her team-leading 16th career double-double, and Andrea Spaustat was right behind with nine kills on .353 hitting. Brittany Crenshaw backed Spaustat, her fellow middle blocker, with six kills in the win, and she also had six blocks, moving her into the lead among her teammates in the category this season (16).
NORTHERN COLORADO NOTEWORTHY:
- Northern Colorado's match against Montana on Thursday, Sept. 15, will start the Bears' sixth season in the Big Sky Conference.
- The Bears (51-29 in Big Sky play) have won the third-most matches of all nine Big Sky team since they joined the league in 2006. Only Portland State (66) and Eastern Washington (53) have won more since 2006.
- Northern Colorado is the only team in the Big Sky to see its win totals in conference play increase in each of the last five seasons. The Bears won seven matches in 2006, eight in 2007, 10 in 2008, 12 in 2009 and 14 last year, in 2010.
- Northern Colorado is 4-1 in Big Sky openers, suffering its only loss at Montana to start its 2008 Big Sky schedule.
- Northern Colorado's straight-sets victory against Denver on Sept. 13, 2011, was its first against the Pioneers in the Mile High City since 1997.
- The Bears, who improved to 28-7 all-time against DU, had lost their previous three tries to leave Denver with a victory.
- Northern Colorado has earned seven all-tournament nods through its three nonconference tournaments this year.
- Kelley Arnold, Marissa Hughes and Amanda Arterburn earned the honors during the Bears' home Hampton Inn & Suites Northern Colorado Classic, while Arterburn and Hughes followed up with all-tourney selections at the Fairfield Inn North Baylor Classic on Saturday, Sept. 3, and Arnold and Hughes earned all-tournament nods at the Colorado State Rams Volleyball Classic on Sept. 10.
- The Bears have placed 16 players on all-tournament honor teams over the last three seasons, earning spots at the Rams Volleyball Classic, the Northern Colorado Classic, the North Texas Mean Green Classic (2009), the Iowa Hawkeye Challenge (2010) and the San Diego State Aztec Invitational (2010).