In front of a rowdy student section in the Adams Center, the University of Montana took on its arch-rival Montana State to open up Big Sky Conference play on Sept. 21, and was outmatched, losing 3-0.

“I’m disappointed in the execution,” said Montana head coach Allison Lawerence. “We just couldn’t get anything going.”

UM’s lovable mascot Monte rollerbladed around the court during breaks of play while the Griz dance and cheer teams rooted him on. Groups of high school volleyball teams filed into the arena to watch high level volleyball.  

The Main Line Trophy, which debuted in the spring of 2021 as a prize for the UM v. MSU volleyball rivalry, sat on Montana State’s end of the scorers table. After the game, the trophy stayed with the ‘Cats. 

All of the built up excitement by Griz fans dwindled throughout the match, as Montana State dominated. MSU had a successful hitting percentage of .229 compared to Montana’s .052.

“We’re not going to win matches when our… hitters hit negative or zero,” Lawerence said. 

The first set of the match was by far UM’s best offensive performance, with the Griz posting a .154 hitting percentage. Despite the strong start by UM, MSU played even better, winning 25-20. 

Defensively, University of Montana saw four blocks from redshirt senior Peyten Boutwell and eight digs from senior Sarina Moreno. Boutwell also had five kills in the match and had a hitting percentage of .125, the highest of any attacking specialist on the Griz. 

The second set once again saw a rally from UM that fell short. Montana State opened it up with a 19-13 lead but then UM rallied back, narrowing MSU’s lead to 23-24. But the Bobcats scored a quick point and downed the Grizzlies 25-23 to take a commanding 2-0 lead. 

Montana was led in kills by senior Elsa Godwin, who had six in the match. Montana only used one setter in the match, sophomore Carly Anderson, who had 24 assists, while Montana State used two setters that both tallied up 15 assists. 

The third and final set of the match was the least entertaining. Montana had a negative hitting percentage and fell 25-17. 

“We are still finding out who we are,” Lawerence said. “Our breakdowns are still causing us to feel really inconsistent.” 

Montana fell to 5-6 in the loss with an 0-1 record in conference play. Montana’s next game will be against Northern Colorado on the road on Sept. 23.