The women’s volleyball team traveled to Missoula, MT, to compete in the Best Western Grant Creek Inn Invitational September 7-8. A victory in the first match against Montana gave the Paladins their eighth consecutive win, but defeats by Texas Tech and Towson brought that streak to an end.
The girls started the Invitational off with a bang, winning against the Montana Grizzlies on Friday night in their opening match. With 15 kills and 16 digs, Natalie Braun, a senior who was selected for the all-tournament team, recorded team highs in both categories. She also racked up her fifth double-double of the season. With 55 assists, freshman setter Jo Wilks helped the Paladins to earn their victory against Montana.
Just a week before the invitational, Wilks earned her second consecutive title as Freshman of the Week in the Southern Conference. The title was awarded for her impressive assists in all four of the team’s matches in the Willie Jewell’s Invitational, which ensured a perfect 4-0 record at the end of the tournament.
Junior Christina Dorismond sealed a victory in the first set against the Grizzlies with a beautiful kill to end the set 25-21. Dorismond had likewise been named a Southern Conference Student-Athlete of the Week, which was announced Sept. 5. Dorismond was also named most valuable player the previous week during the Willie Jewell’s Invitational, adding another accomplishment to the Paladins’ 2012 season.
Even though a loss to Texas Tech broke their winning streak, the Paladins have started off with a praiseworthy season. Aside from a notable string of consecutive victories and multiple individual awards, the team holds an even more awe-inspiring record of 17 back-to-back home game victories. The latest, a 3-1 victory over Clemson, opened the home games for this season.
However, the girls did not go down without a fight in the Montana Invitational. Braun secured an additional two double-doubles, the first with 19 kills and 14 digs against Texas Tech and the second with 15 kills and 12 digs against Towson, for a total of seven double-doubles this season. Wilks ended the Texas Tech match with 57 assists and seven digs.
Her teammate, Amelia Bohlander, took 11 kills and a .476 attack percentage for a team-high record. Elle Ross made 18 digs against Texas Tech while Caroline Adams recorded two solo blocks and four block assists in the match, with an additional 10 kills in the loss against Towson later that evening. Both Ross and Adams were named to the 2012 Willie Jewell’s Volleyball Invitational All-Tournament Team earlier in the season.