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MSU Billings faces Rocky

Maddi Vigil (spiking ball) is one of the top returnees for the Montana State Billings volleyball team this season.

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Montana State Billings volleyball team has been picked to finish ninth in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference preseason coaches poll.

Defending league champion Western Washington and Central Washington tied for the top spot. The Vikings, ranked No. 3 nationally, earned seven first-place votes, while the Wildcats had four. WWU reached the NCAA Division II title game last year, losing to Tampa in five sets.

The Yellowjackets finished 13-17 overall and 7-13 in conference play.

MSUB returns a solid group on offense, led by Maddie Vigil, who averaged 2.53 kills a set. Eavan Taylor averaged 1.34 kills and 1.03 blocks per set as a freshman last season, while setter Alexa Smythe averaged 5.79 assists per set and had 33 aces.

The Yellowjackets will have to find a replacement for Izela Alvarez, who transferred. Alvarez holds the No. 1 and 3 single-season marks for digs in a season. She had a program-record 622 in 2017 and 540 in 2018. Alvarez ranks No. 6 all-time (1,162) in just two seasons at MSUB.

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