George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor email@example.com
After stepping out of conference to host the first-ever Pepsi-Northern Classic last week in Havre, the Montana State University-Northern volleyball team will remain home this weekend, and get back to Frontier Conference action. Tonight, the Skylights will play h o s t t o n a t i o n a l l y - r a n k e d Westminster College, and MSU-N will take on Lewis-Clark State on Saturday night at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse. The Skylights (2-5, 4-11) are starting the second half of what has been an interesting season so far. Northern has played particularly well at home, including three wins in its own tournament last weekend. But this weekend’s matches will be the toughest two opponents MSU-N has faced at home this season and it starts tonight with the Griffins. Westminster is 6-1 in league play and 13-5 overall. That record includes an easy three-game win over MSU-N last month in Salt Lake City, and the Skylights haven’t beaten the Griffins in over two years. The Griffins have a pair of outstanding hitters, led by Angie Johnson, who has 253 total kills this season, second-best in the Frontier. Ananda Lopes is another solid hitter for the Griffins, while Allison Culp is also a force at the net. Westminster also gets solid all-around play from Bree Riett, who leads the league in digs, and setter Leigha Dangerfield is third in the conference in assists. Westminster is currently tied with LC State atop the Frontier standings, and the Warriors (6-1, 12-3) invade the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse on Saturday night. LC State is by far the league’s most improved team, and like Westminster, the Warriors also have a win over MSU-N this season. A big part of LC State’s success is the fine play of outside hitter/ middle blocker Brittney Kubick, who leads the conference in hitting percentage. She is also one of four Warriors to have over 100 kills so far this season. Anile Clemente leads the team in kills, followed by Julie Maciboba, Kubick and Cintia Alessi. LC State is also one of the top defensive teams in the league with three players in the Top 10 in digs. So with the two best teams in the Frontier coming to Havre this weekend, the Skylights, who sit just two games out of last place in the league standings, will have their hands full. But MSU-N is playing much better than it was when the Skylights went to Salt Lake and Lewiston, Idaho last month. Outside hitters Carlee Hoff and Brittany Baker have come alive recently, and true freshman Kaylee Bossert is playing extremely well all over the floor for MSU-N. Jen Rohl is the league’s second-leading hitter and she is in the Top 15 in blocking. And Brittni Sesler is her usual steady self from the setter position. Northern is also playing well at home in 2007, but the Skylights will have to take their game to another level this weekend. Tonight’s Frontier Conference match be twe en MSU-N and Westminster gets under way at 7 at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse. Saturday’s match between the Skylights and LC State also begins at 7 p.m.