Houle Leads Grizzlies Past Aggies In Tournament Finale

Sept. 12, 2004

DAVIS, Calif. - Sophomore Claudia Houle recorded 21 kills and added 14 digs to lead Montana to a five-game, 18-30, 30-23, 30-23, 29-31, 15-12 victory over UC Davis in the final match of the Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza Aggie Invitational women's volleyball tournament at the Pavilion Saturday.

The Grizzlies improve to 2-5 on the year, winning their first five-game outing of the season. The Aggies fall to 1-7 overall.

Game 1 was highlighted by the Aggies' defense, which recorded 22 digs in the 30-18 win. Seniors Marritt Cafarchia and Mary McClelland had eight and seven digs, respectively, while senior outside hitter Kate Wilton contributed another four. Offensively, Rachel Keener had four of her 13 total kills in the first game.

However, Montana responded with wins in Games 2 and 3. Outside hitter Michaela Parker had five kills on 10 attempts in the second game, while Houle hit 4-0-9 in the third. Furthermore, UC Davis' offense withered to a .023 clip in Game 3, in addition to four service errors.

The Aggies recovered in the fourth game, getting help from behind the serving line from McClelland. She had an ace and two free-ball opportunities as part of a 4-0 run that gave UC Davis a 12-8 lead. Montana helped whittle away at the margin, eventually tying the game at 20-20. Three Houle kills forced a 29-28 match point for Montana, but a Grizzly hitting error tied the game to 29-29. Read served up an ace to take a 30-29 lead, and Houle's errant attack allowed the Aggies to tie the match at 2-2.

The Grizzlies earned their Game 5 victory in part to their net play, posting all four team blocks in the final frame. With a 14-12 match point, Houle recorded her second service ace to claim the match victory.

Sophomore Nicole Read came off the bench to hit nine kills and tally a .412 hitting average in the final two games. McClelland matched her career high of 25 digs, set earlier in the day against Brown. Mary Gaber also provided offensive punch from the right side, compiling seven kills and a .357 average for the match.



Nevada's Salaia Salave'a earned tournament MVP honors. She had 36 kills, 32 digs and 11 blocks in nine games, helping the Wolf Pack go undefeated in the tournament. Christine Harms and Tristin Adams also represented Nevada on the all-tournament team.

Other all-tournament selections included Houle and EvaLyn Whitehead for Montana, McClelland from UC Davis, and libero Elvina Kung of Brown. Kung posted 63 digs in Saturday's two matches.

UC Davis returns to action on September 16 to participate in the Nike Portland Invitational. The Aggies will face Utah Valley State, Portland State and Portland.

All-Tournament Team

MVP Salaia Salave'a (Jr., MB, Nevada)

Christine Harms (Jr., OH, Nevada)
Tristin Adams (So., S, Nevada)
EvaLyn Whitehead (So., MB, Montana)
Claudia Houle (So., OH, Montana)
Elvina Kung (Sr., L, Brown)
Mary McClelland (Sr., L, UC Davis)