Montana State Bobcats volleyball

Montana State’s Jourdain Klein (9) and Emma Pence (12) go up for a block against Portland State on Sunday in Shroyer Gym.

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Signs of a hard-fought, five-set match on Saturday night, and the third consecutive contest that had gone the distance, were evident early for Montana State.

Portland State took the opening set, but MSU rallied to post a 20-25, 25-23, 31-29, 25-17 victory on Sunday in Shroyer Gym. This is MSU’s seventh straight win and its best win streak since 2003.

“These five-set matches have taken a toll,” Bobcats head coach Daniel Jones said. “I thought we were dealing with some fatigue in that first set and it looked like we needed a coffee to get us going.”

Montana State (8-2, 8-2 Big Sky) played even with Portland State (1-11, 0-10) until the Vikings pulled away midway through the opening set with a 4-1 run to lead 17-13 on back-to-back service aces. PSU held the margin, winning on a kill by Zoe McBride.

The second set featured six ties and five lead changes. A Kira Thomsen kill late in the stanza gave MSU a 22-21 advantage.

The Bobcats pushed the lead to 24-22 on a Jourdain Klein kill. The Vikings fought off two set points before another Klein winner evened the match.

Portland State took control of the third set, storming out to a 14-5 lead. Montana State whittled the margin down to 18-15 on a Hannah Scott kill and a block by Emma Pence, and Avery Turnage evened the game at 18. PSU went on a 5-2 run to take a 23-20 lead, but two Klein kills and a winner by Susanna Sovde tied the set at 23.

Both teams traded points down the stretch with the Vikings holding three set points and the Bobcats four. With the set tied at 29, a Thomsen kill and a Vikings hitting error completed the MSU comeback.

“I’m so proud of the team for digging their heels in and refusing to give up,” Jones said. “Just the grit this group is showing and the toughness to control what they can is inspiring. They work for each other and are doing the things great teams do in my mind. They find ways to win even when the game’s not going their way.”

The Bobcats pulled away in the fourth frame midway through the set behind three freshmen: Klein, Turnage and setter Delaney Shearan. Klein posted five kills while Turnage added four kills, a .500 attack mark and a block. Shearan dished out seven assists. MSU won the match on Thomsen’s 15th kill of the night.

“The coffee came in the form of some of the young kids,” Jones said. “You have Jourdain Klein stepping up big for the second night in a row, and Avery also gave us a huge contribution coming off the bench.”

Klein finished with a career-best 14 kills while hitting .387 and adding two blocks. Turnage also posted a career-best nine kills, a .533 attack mark and one block. Pence recorded 10 kills, a .476 attack mark and a match-high eight blocks.

Defensively, libero Libby Christensen added a career-high 21 saves while Thomsen (17) and Scott (15) also hit double-digit digs.

Allie Lynch and Shearan combined for 49 assists and two timely kills.

“We have a deep squad, and that shows when you can bring athletes off the bench like Avery,” Jones said. “And I thought Libby did a nice job in the back row. We know we have depth, and if we need to go with someone to give us a different look, we can do it and it’s a luxury. Everyone is bought in to what we’re doing.”

Montana State travels to Idaho to face the Vandals on Sunday and Monday in a two-match series.

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Colton Pool can be reached at or 406-582-2690. Follow him on Twitter @CPoolReporter.