Mountaineers Advance to NAIA Quarterfinals with Come from Behind Victory Over Montana Tech

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Despite a rocky first set, Eastern Oregon University clinched their spot in bracket play for the second consecutive year Friday afternoon taking down the Orediggers of Montana Tech in four sets, 12-25, 29-27, 25-21, 25-22.
It was the Orediggers who established momentum in the first set jumping out to a 25-12 victory. A gritty second set marked the turning point in the match. Montana Tech looked as if they were going to maintain that momentum early in the second set jumping out to a 12-3 lead early. Eastern battled back outscoring Tech 14-5 to tie it up at 17-17. The two teams battled it out exchanging blows until the Mounties finally took control with back-to-back, set-clinching kills by Ashton Haughton.
Despite Montana Tech’s efforts, Eastern Oregon maintained their composure in the third and fourth sets, securing victories with scores of 25-21 and 25-22, respectively.
Eastern Oregon’s offensive firepower was on full display, as evidenced by their impressive attack percentages. Sophomore outside hitter, Keira Vaughn led the charge with 15 kills and an efficient hitting percentage of .300, while Sade Williams and Kiauna Mack contributed significantly with 11 and 10 kills, respectively. Junior setter Alexis McMurtrey orchestrated the offense effectively, tallying 24 assists.
Montana Tech’s Olivia Muir and Maureen Jessop played crucial roles for the Orediggers, delivering strong performances with 16 and 13 kills. The duo’s offensive performance couldn’t offset Eastern Oregon’s solid defensive efforts, led by Hailey Arritola with 27 digs. At the net it was impressive play by sophomore middle hitter Kiauna Mack and junior outside hitter Madison Morgan that helped carry the Mounties to victory with 8 and 7 blocks respectively.
In the end Eastern Oregon’s balanced and coordinated efforts secured them the victory, improving their overall season record to 34-1. With the victory the Mounties have secured their spot in the NAIA Volleyball Championship Quarterfinals. They now await the results of tonight’s Pool F match between two Missouri schools in Park and Columbia. Eastern will take on the winner in the Quarterfinal match tomorrow evening, Saturday, at 8 p.m. CT.

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