Bobcats opened NIVC with win over Rice

Photo by Gerald Castillo

Head coach Karen Chisum was convinced an avalanche had hit San Marcos following Thursday night’s game in the first round of the NIVC.

“You won’t understand this but Jaliyah (Bolden) does,” Chisum said. “It is snowing outside. I’m gonna tell you, that’s been our theme. We needed an avalanche at this time of the year. The avalanche has hit San Marcos.”

Emotions were high after a sweep of the Rice Owls (25-21, 25-21, 25-20). The win over the Owls goes down as the first post-season win in school history. The victory may appear to be a dominant one. But the Owls didn’t go away without a fight.

The first set saw 10 tied scores and three lead changes before the Bobcats started to feed off the energy inside Strahan Coliseum. Texas State had a lead as large as four before the Owls started to close the gap.

But the offensive presence of senior middle blocker Jaliyah Bolden and senior setter Erin Hoppe proved too much for the Owls. Bolden converted .548 percent of her opportunities to a team-high 19 kills. Hoppe distributed the ball to everyone all night with a team-high 46 assists.

“I couldn’t have done it without Hoppe,” Bolden said. “Everything just kind of fell into place. We had good week of hard practice and we were saying on the bench, we feel like we’re so in shape for this game. Everything out there just felt so easy and natural.”

The second set was much like the first with seven tied scores and five lead changes. The set had its share of timeouts to break momentum and challenges that swung the lead back and forth. Despite some Rice timeouts, the Bobcats powered through behind the energy the home crowd provided.

“The crowd here in San Marcos at Strahan Coliseum tonight I thought was electrifying,” Chisum said. “The radio people just asked me, you know every time yall came out it looked like there was a lot energy, and I really do think there was.”

The confidence from taking a 2-0 match lead rolled over into the third frame as Texas State had control the whole final set. Rice was unable to consistently put a run together offensively due to the defense Texas State put on display. The Bobcats recorded six blocks along with 84 digs.

Sophomore defensive specialist Micah Dinwiddie led the Bobcats with 30 digs, while sophomore outside hitter Megan Porter finished with 17 digs of her own as well as 13 kills. The all around performance has the confidence of the Bobcats high. But they understand there is more work to do in an early post-season.

“At the end (of the game) I told them to make sure to get the snow chains on their car, it’s going to (still be snowing) tomorrow. We are hungry. I saw it in this group tonight. They are not ready for this season to be over.”


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