SUU finished the match with 18.0 blocks, including four solo blocks and 28 block assists, marking the second-highest blocking total in school history. The Thunderbirds also began the match strong, hitting .458 during the first set with 13 kills on 24 attempts and only two errors.
Despite the hot hitting, Southern Utah trailed Montana State throughout most of the opening set only taking the lead twice at 11-10 and 20-19 as the teams also worked through nine ties. SUU broke the final 20-20 tie with back-to-back points on an Ann Clappier/Lusia Angilau block and Alissa Youart kill. The Thunderbirds ultimately finished out the set on a 5-1 run, taking the first stanza 25-21 on a Taylor Heine kill.
Heine led the T-Birds with a .529 hitting percentage, recording 10 kills on 17 swings with only one error. Kylie Schofield led all SUU attackers with 11 kills during the contest.
A Schofield kill gave the Thunderbirds the opening point of the second set, but Montana State countered with four consecutive points to take a 4-1 lead and never surrendered their advantage. SUU came to within one at 7-6, but a 7-1 run gave the home side a seven-point cushion (14-7) with the Bobcats eventually taking the set 25-20.
The third set proved to be a roller coaster ride as Southern Utah fought off three Montana State set points only to have the Bobcats answer and rebuff two Thunderbird set points. MSU took the set 30-28, staving off Southern Utah's final set point at 28-27.
The Thunderbirds returned the favor in the fourth set, holding off two Montana State match points at 24-22 and 24-23 with kills from Youart and Schofield. The performance tied the match at 24-24, but back-to-back points by the Bobcats wrapped up the match 26-24.
Southern Utah will now return home and close out the first half of the Big Sky season when the Thunderbirds host North Dakota and Northern Colorado next week. The matches are scheduled for Thursday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m. in the Centrum Arena with live stat and live video links available online at www.suutbirds.com.