If Thursday night’s win at Montana Tech wasn’t big enough, the Montana State University-Northern volleyball team kept the amazing start to the season rolling.
On Friday night in Dillon, the Skylights dominated the UM-Western Bulldogs in a three-game sweep to improve to 2-0 in the Frontier Conference. The Skylights beat the Bulldogs by scores of 25-18, 25-20 and 25-14, and are tied atop the league standings with Lewis-Clark State. This is not only the first time the Skylights have been in first place in years, but it was their first road sweep in the conference in a long time as well.
“It’s exciting, I’m just really happy for these girls,” Northern head coach Bill Huebsch said. “That we’ve been able to start the season as well as we have, and to go on the road and win these two matches, it just means a lot to this team and this program.”
After sweeping Tech on Thursday night, the Skylights kept their foot on the gas and drove right through Dillon and the Bulldogs.
Northern improved its hitting percentages from its win over the Orediggers and hit an astounding .387 in the third set against Western. Those numbers tell Huebsch his team is not only getting better with each match, but by the set.
“I don’t think we played as well as we could have against Tech even though we swept them,” Huebsch said. “But in Dillon, offensively we just had it rolling. The kids were really hitting well, and out percentages just kept improving throughout the match.
“Those are things that’s so great about what we’ve been able to accomplish so far,” he added. “I believe we haven’t played our best volleyball yet. We can get even better. So to be where we are, knowing that the best is yet to come, it’s a really exciting time for us.”
Against Western, MSU-N senior Brittany Baker had a match-high 14 kills, while Kaylee Bossert had nine, as did Karyssa Bowron, who had a strong weekend for the Skylights. Jordan Merrill had 35 of Northern’s 40 assists, while Bossert added three aces and Baker had one solo block. Huebsch also said Elise Davis had a steady weekend for the Skylights, playing well in both wins.
And with a 2-0 start to league play and a 9-3 overall record, Northern is building some incredible momentum as its heads to arch rival UGF on Friday.
“I’m proud of the start we’re off to and so are the girls,” Huebsch said. “I think the confidence is the key thing. We’re just getting more confident week-to-week and set-to-set, and it’s showing up in our play. Hopefully, we can keep getting better and keep this momentum we have going.”
The Skylights will travel to UGF Friday night, before finally playing their first home match of the season Sept. 24 against Lewis-Clark State.
MSU-Northern def. University of Montana Western
25-18, 25-20, 25-14
KILLS — Northern 43 (Brittany Baker 14, Kaylee Bossert 9, Karyssa Bowron 9), Western 27 (Bailey Branson 9, Kayla Schmid 7, Theresa Bennett 5). ASSISTS — Northern 40 (Jordan Merrill 35), Western 24 (Alisha Kearsley 24). ACES — Northern 5 (Bossert 3, Elise Davis, Samantha Hutcheson), . DIGS — Northern 40 (Bossert 10, Karyssa Bowron 10), BLOCKS — Northern 1 (Baker).