Havre Daily News Sports Editor
The Montana State University-Northern volleyball team wrapped up its regular season in fine fashion on Friday night in Dillon. The Skylights crushed Frontier Conference front-runner UM-Western, avenging an earlier loss to the Bulldogs.
Northern's three-game defeat of the Bulldogs, by scores of 30-28, 32-20 and 30-24, gave them a 6-8 conference record and put them in a tie for fifth place in the final Frontier standings. The Skylights finished the season tied with Carroll College, but because they defeated the Saints twice this season, they will have the No. 5 seed in this week's Frontier Conference tournament in Butte.
Game two of Friday's contest between MSU-N and Western was key as the Skylights were able to overcome a 29-27 deficit and stave off a pair of game points that would have evened the match.
Tied at 17-17 in the third game, the Skylights ripped off nine unanswered points to put the Bulldogs away for good.
Seniors Julie Henderson and Jasmine Mitchell ended their regular-season playing career in fine fashion. Henderson led all players with 16 kills, and Mitchell added 14 kills and three blocks. Emilee Madsen-Summers led the Skylight defense with 19 digs. Tera O'Haire added three blocks in the win.
Western got 14 kills apiece from Jenny Finlay and Katherine Sunwall. Kendall Bradley led the Bulldog defense with 20 digs.
The win over Western means the Skylights will face Montana Tech in the opening round of the conference tournament.
The weekend didn't start off as well as it ended for the Skylights. On Thursday, they were drubbed by eventual conference champion Westminster College in Salt Lake City. The Griffins defeated the Skylights by scores of 30-25, 30-28 and 30-19.
Westminster got its usual production from Celestial Alofipo and Angie Johnson. The pair combined for 27 of the Griffins' 47 kills. Northern was led by Mitchell with 12 kills and two blocks. Jordan Fox added nine kills. But as a team, the Skylights had 36 kills to 21 errors.
The win over the Skylights wrapped up the Frontier regular-season title for the Griffins as they finished the season with a 12-2 conference record and 16-11 overall. The Griffins will open the conference tournament with Lewis-Clark State on Friday.
The Skylights (6-8, 11-12) will head to Butte on Thursday, and the 2005 Frontier Conference volleyball tournament will get under way on Friday afternoon. The tournament will conclude Saturday night, with the winner advancing to the Northern Regional tournament next weekend.
MSU-N 30-25, 30-28, 30-19
MSUN - Kills 36 (Jasmine Mitchell 12), Assists 31 (Tracee Tesch 26), Aces 4 (Hope Wirll 2), Digs 43 (Emilee Madsen-Summers 13, Tesch 10), Blocks 16 (Mitchell 4).
Westminster - Kills 47 (Celestial Alifopo 15, Angie Johnson 12), Assists 39 (Monica Shorts 31), Aces 9 (Shorts 5), Digs 50 (Alifopo 15, Bree Riet 12), Blocks 13 (Fa'alua Lobendahn 5).
MSU-N def. Western
30-28, 32-30, 30-24
Kills - Northern 54 (Julie Henderson 16, Jasmine Mitchell 14, Jordan Fox 8, Tera O'Haire 8, Tracee Tesch 3, Jeanna McPhearson 3, Ashley Roth 2), Western 46 (Katherine Sunwall 14, Jenny Finlay 14, Shannon O'Keefe 11, Kendall Bradley 6, Lindsey Scott 1). Assists - Northern 45 (Tresch 44, Henderson 1), Western 43 (Scott 41, Nicole Clark 1, Juli Ramondelli 1). Aces - Northern 3 (Fox 3), Western 2 (Casey Barry, Finlay). Digs - Northern 63 (Emilee Madsen-Summers 19, Fox 12, Kelly Thrope 11, Henderson 8, McPhearson 5, Tesch 5, Ashley Roth 1, Mitchell 1, O'Haire 1), Western - 65 (Bradley 20, Finlay 13, Barry 9, Sunwall 8, Ramondelli 7, Scott 4, O'Keefe 2, Lindsey Nicholls 1, Nicole Clark 1). Blocks - Northern 2 (O'Haire 3, Mitchell 3, Henderson 1, Fox 1), Western 7 (Bradley 2, O'Keefe 2, Finlay 1, Scott 1, Arron Fjeld 1).