By Tiffany L. Rehbein
On paper, the MSU-Northern Skylights and the Rocky Mountain Bears played evenly.
Northern notched seven aces, Rocky, the Frontier Conference ace leader, managed only five. Northern had 31 digs compared to 32 for Rocky. The Bears tallied seven blocks versus five for Northern.
The Skylights notched their second-best hitting percentage of the season.
However, the one stat that varied the most led to the Bears 15-13, 15-9, 15-2 victory over the Skylights Saturday at Billings.
Rocky (3-0, 12-6) pounded 50 kills on the Skylights, led by Christine Schmitt and Mindi Schofield who tallied 13 apiece for the Bears, managing hit after hit around the Skylights block.
They just pounded the ball at us, said first-year head coach Lisa Handley. They were hitting rockets.
The first game opened with side-out after side-out and tough play on both sides of the net.
We got them out of their offense; we were picking up balls, but by the end of the game, they were just overpowering us, Handley said.
Adrienne Poplawski led the Skylights, nailing 11-of-17 kills for Northern, good for a .588 on the night. Northern had 30 total kills in the match.
The Skylights had a 92 percent passing percentage, notching a 2.5 on a 3.0 scale.
From behind the line, the Skylights served 96 percent, including eight aces. Gabrielle Chambliss and Lyndi Hostetter each landed three in the match.
Senior Melanie Baack led the Skylights with eight digs in the contest.
Hostetter notched two blocks for the Skylights, while freshman Jaley Wacker had two in the effort.
But in front of a large, fired-up Rocky crowd, the Skylights couldnt stop the hard-hitting Bears front line.
The place that we really needed to pick things up was at the defensive dig and blocking, Handley said. They just played smart volleyball.
The Skylights (2-3, 3-9) will play at Jamestown, N.D., in one of the few tournaments scheduled this year.
We didnt play bad, but we didnt play well enough to win, Handley said about the weekend performance.