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CEDAR CITY, Utah - Southern Utah University women’s volleyball will take its first conference road trip of the season this weekend when the Thunderbirds travel to Montana and Montana State. SUU will look to repeat its 2012 success against the two schools after the T-Birds posted road victories at both sites last year.
Southern Utah will enter the matches with a 2-14 record, including a 1-5 mark in the Big Sky, and riding a five-match losing streak. The Thunderbirds previous win came at home against Weber State on Sept. 19.
Despite their record, the T-Birds are among the leaders in the Big Sky and nationally in blocks. Sophomore Taylor Heine is 12th in the nation with a 1.41 blocks per set average and Southern Utah is ranked nationally in the top 50 with a 2.53 blocks per set average. SUU is also strong in digs, ranking third in the Big Sky with a 14.77 digs per set average. Freshman Sariah Pelaez leads the team with 210 digs, averaging 3.50 per set.
Game time on Friday in Missoula and Saturday in Bozeman is set for 7:00 p.m. with live stat and live video links available online at www.suutbirds.com.
The University of Montana will enter the weekend with an overall record of 6-9, including a league mark of 3-3. The Grizzlies have posted victories over Weber State, Eastern Washington and Northern Colorado.
Montana is led offensively by Kayla Reno with 170 kills and a team-best 3.04 kills per set average. Reno is also tops on the team in service aces with 11. Kortney James has directed the attack with a team-best 413 assists. As a team, the Grizzlies have totaled 633 kills, averaging 11.30 per set and connect for a .193 hitting percentage (633-279-1830).
Defensively, Montana has totaled 775 digs, averaging 13.84 per set and lead the Big Sky in blocking with a 2.63 blocks per set average, totaling 147.5 this season. Megan Murphey leads the team with 199 digs (3.55 per set) and Brooke Bray leads the team in blocks with 72.
Southern Utah holds a 2-1 advantage in the all-time series after a season sweep of the Grizzlies last season.
Last Time Against Montana
MISSOULA, Mont. - Nov. 10, 2012 - Southern Utah University and Montana swapped lopsided victories in the first four sets and then the Thunderbirds came back from an 8-4 deficit in the fifth to take the match 16-14 for their first conference weekend sweep of the season.
Cashaana Renfro and Kylie Schofield led Southern Utah on the night with matching 14-kill performances and were joined in double-digit kill numbers by Alissa Youart (12) and Analaine Mailoto (11). Senior Anna Burgess had her best match of the season, logging a career-best 19 digs, starting at libero for the second consecutive night.
Scouting Montana State
Montana State will host Northern Arizona on Friday before its meeting with Southern Utah on Saturday night. The Bobcats are currently 3-14 on the year and 1-5 in the Big Sky with their lone victory coming against Weber State last weekend.
Montana State is led offensively by freshman Kennadie Clute with a league-best 4.09 kills per set average. Clute has totaled 262 of the team’s 777 kills on the year with the squad hitting .155 (777-431-2233) on the year. Anna Sykora leads the team in assists with 660.
Defensively, Montana State has recorded 799 digs and 108 blocks, averaging 12.48 and 1.69 per set, respectively. Individually, Nicole Baker leads the team with 217 digs (3.39 per set) and Natalee Godfrey leads the team with 51 blocks (0.80 per set).
The all-time series between the two schools is tied at 1-1 with the road team claiming victories in both contests in 2012.
Last Time Against Montana State
BOZEMAN, Mont. - Nov. 9, 2012 - Southern Utah University women’s volleyball kept its chance of a Big Sky tournament berth alive on Friday night with a four-set victory over the Montana State Bobcats.
Analaine Mailoto led all attackers with 19 kills on the night and added 13 digs for her 12th double-double of the season. Alissa Youart, starting at outside hitter, joined her with a double-double performance of 13 kills and 15 digs. Anna Burgess, starting at libero, recorded one of her best defensive performances of the season with 17 digs. Taylor Heine led the T-Birds in efficiency, hitting a team-best .583 with eight kills on 12 attempts with only one error.
Southern Utah has recorded more blocks than its opponents in 12 of its 16 matches this season.
The match with Montana will pit the top two blocking teams in the Big Sky with Montana first (2.63 blocks per set) and Southern Utah second (2.53 blocks per set).
Southern Utah’s block ranks in the top 50 of the country with a 2.53 blocks per set average. Individually, Taylor Heine ranks 12th in the nation with a 1.41 blocks per set average.