George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org
With the start of the 2007 Frontier Conference fall sports season right around the corner, the coaches’ polls are out for football and volleyball. In the annual football coaches poll, the Montana State University- Northern Lights were picked to finish second and received one firstplace vote. Defending league champion Carroll College garnered the other five first-place votes. Northern finished 9-3 least year and second in in the Frontier, its best finish in school history. The Lights also qualified for the NAIA playoffs, losing to the Saints in the first round. Carroll, who entered last season as the four-time defending NAIA national champions, went on to lose the next week in the NAIA quarterfinals. Montana Tech, who finished third in the league a year ago, is picked to finish there once again. The Orediggers will be led this season by former Havre High quarterback Justin Kegel. Eastern Oregon, UM-Western and Rocky Mountain College round out the poll. In the Frontier coaches’ volleyball poll, defending co-champions the University of Great Falls and Westminster College each received 45 points and four first-place votes. Carroll College, which won the Frontier Conference Tournament last season, was picked to finish third as was Montana Tech. Both schools received 35 points. MSU-N, which is preparing to enter the second year of the Greg Ryan era, was picked seventh by the coaches with 15 points. Northern finished the regular season at the bottom of the Frontier Conference standing, winning just three conference matches. But the Skylights should be much improved this season despite their low ranking. The poll also included Rocky Mountain College, picked fifth, and Lewis-Clark State sixth. UM-Western, once one of the top volleyball programs in the NAIA, was picked to finish last this season. In football, teams open their schedules on Sept. 1, including the Lights who take on Dickinson State University in Havre. The Skylights open their 2007 volleyball season in Billings on Aug. 24. Northern plays its first home match on Sept. 21 against Carroll.