Denver, Colo.- The Hastings College volleyball team defeated Montana State University-Northern in three sets (25-17, 25-19, 25-11) and Rocky Mountain College (Mont.) in a five set battle (25-18, 23-25, 28-26, 19-25, 15-12) in Day One of the Johnson & Wales Tournament on Friday.
Against MSU-Northern, the Lady Broncos (2-0) and the Skylights (0-2) went back and forth to start the first set. The Lady Broncos took a 7-6 lead off a kill by Cassidy Ostrand (SO/Central City, NE) and never looked back, leading as much as eight in the set when Ostrand got a service ace to take the first set 25-17.
The second set saw the Lady Broncos have to fight off a couple Skylight pushes before taking five of the last seven points from three Skylight errors and kills by Katie Placke (SR/Grand Island, NE) and Catherine Williams (SR/Aurora, CO).
Set Three was dominated by the Lady Broncos who had an 11-2 run with four kills by Williams, two kills by Emily Lenners (SO/Adams, NE), and a kill by Casey Krolikowski (JR/Cairo, NE) to lead to the 25-11 set win and match win for the Lady Broncos.
Placke and Williams led the Lady Broncos against the Skylights with 16 assists and eight kills, and 10 kills respectively. Clare Hamburger (JR/Hastings, NE) also had 17 assists and nine digs.
As a team, the Lady Broncos had a .250 kill percentage, compared to the Skylights' .047.
In their afternoon matchup against Rocky Mountain College, the Battlin' Bears lived up to their nickname, battling the Lady Broncos to a fifth set. Set one consisted of a back-and-forth affair up to a 16-15 score in favor of the Lady Broncos before Hastings went on a 9-3 run to finish the set. In the 9-3 run, Andrea LaVene (SR/Roca, NE), Placke, Krolikowski, and Williams all tallied a kill.
In the second set, neither team could pull away from each other with the largest lead being four for the Battlin' Bears. The set went down to the wire as the Battlin' Bears led the Lady Broncos 24-23 before a bad set won the set for RMC.
Set three saw the Battlin' Bear momentum from the previous set continue with a 5-0 start for RMC. The Broncos countered with a 6-1 run to tie the Battlin' Bears and start a back-and-forth fight for the lead before the Lady Broncos rode an 8-1 run to a 20-14 lead late in the set. The Battlin' Bears answered back with a 7-1 run of their own to tie the set at 21. RMC had Hastings on the rope of losing a second straight set after taking a 24-23 lead over the Lady Broncos, but a kill by Placke and service ace by Krolikowski turned the tables in favor of Hastings. Hastings and RMC traded points to a 26-26 tie before another Placke kill and an attack error seized the set for the Lady Broncos.
The Battlin' Bears were in control for most of the fourth set, leading the Lady Broncos 19-11 late in the set. The Lady Broncos used a 7-0 run to get back within one of the Battlin' Bears before RMC went on a 6-1 to take set four and send the match to a decisive fifth set.
Fifth set action started with the Battlin' Bears taking the first point, but relinquished the lead with two straight attack errors. Hastings used these errors to take the momentum and lead away from the Battlin' Bears before taking the fifth set 15-12.
Placke led the Lady Broncos with 24 kills and 30 assists. Jill Bax (SR/Lincoln, NE) also tallied 38 digs.
When asked about the match, Head Coach Matt Buttermore said, "It was a good match. They were tough- good defense and no mistakes. We played pretty well but missed some scoring opportunities."
The Lady Broncos continue tomorrow when they play against the University of Providence (Mont.) (formerly University of Great Falls) Argos (2-0) at 11:30 a.m. MST and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Ariz.) Eagles (1-1) at 2 p.m. MST.