GREAT FALLS, Mont. - Goshen College volleyball coach Jim Routhier was looking for his team's preseason trip to Montana as a way to gain valuable experience against some of the best programs in the country.
Facing off against three teams appearing in the preseason NAIA national poll in just two days should provide just that.
With just a handful of practices under their belts, the Maple Leafs showed a bit of rust in dropping their first two matches against top-notch competition at the University of Great Falls/ Carroll College Tournament Friday and Saturday.
Goshen lost its season opener 25-13, 25-20, 25-17 to Montana State Northern on Friday. Then, in the nightcap, they were swept by #36 Great Falls 25-18, 25-23, 25-16.
"We played much better in the second match," Routhier said. "We are improving every set. These teams are probably as good as anyone we saw last year. They are huge. Great Falls had a 6-foot-4 middle. Our kids stayed with them though, just can't quite finish yet."
The Maple Leafs did not fare much better on the final scoreboard on Saturday, losing to #7 Rocky Mountain College 25-21, 25-20, 25-20 and 25-13, 25-10, 25-16 to #21 Carroll College.
They look to rebound on Saturday, but will have to do so against #7 Rocky Mountain College (Mont.) before concluding the tournament against #21 and co-host Carroll College.