By Tiffany L. Rehbein
The MSU-Northern Skylights volleyball team will have the opportunity to avenge a loss when it travels to Dillon to face the Western Montana Bulldogs Friday.
Saturday, they remain on the road to face a scrappy Montana Tech team at Butte.
Northern, 2-3 in the Frontier Conference and 4-12 overall, fell to Western, 2-3, 13-6, when the two met Sept. 24 at Havre.
Western won the hard-fought battle 15-9, 17-15, 15-12.
The Skylights lost a 14-6 lead in the second game and a 12-8 lead in the third game last month.
Its a learning process, said first-year head coach Lisa Handley. We can play with these teams.
The Skylights are coming off a 1-4 tournament finish at Jamestown, N.D.
Sophomore middle hitter Adrienne Poplawski, who was selected to the All-Tournament team at Jamestown, was also named the Frontier Conference player of the week. Poplawski notched 53 kills, three digs, nine blocks and tallied a .353 attack percentage.
Senior defensive specialist Jennifer Sanders leads the conference with a 99.4 percent serving percentage. Sanders missed her first serve of the season last weekend.
As a team, the Skylights are No. 2 in the conference serving 93.6 percent on the year.
The Skylights lead the Frontier Conference with a .93 team passing percentage, on 1,353 attempts. Sophomore Lyndi Hostetter is third in the conference passing 94.3 percent.
Jessica Gerenz is seventh in the conference, averaging 4.47 assists per game. She notched 17 the last time Northern met Western. Gabrielle Chambliss led the Skylights with 20.
Hostetter and Chambliss stand at Nos. 4 and 10, serving 96.6 and 94.4 on the season, respectively. Also, Hostetter has notched 23 aces on the year, while Chambliss has tallied 18.
Heather Hammonds and Sanders both served 100 percent the last time the two teams met.
Senior Melanie Baack had a team-high 12 kills in September.
On the other hand, Western leads the conference with a 93.7 team serving percentage. Five-foot-10 Bulldog Emily Carroll notched four aces against the Skylights at Havre.
Carroll averages 3.27 kills per game, good for a second overall place in the Frontier Conference. She is aided by Kelly Carras at setter, who averages 10.56 assists per game.
Western also leads the conference in team digs, averaging 21.88 digs per game. Carroll notched 19, Jeni Hope tallied 12, and Jennifer Gordon added 11 in the last matchup.
Westerns greatest strength, however, is the big block and front line they put up at the net.
Against Montana Tech, 0-5 in the Frontier Conference, 6-12 overall, the Skylights last downed the Orediggers 15-12, 18-16, 15-12 at home.
Baack collected 19 kills in the matchup to lead the Skylights. Hostetter, Sanders, Chambliss and freshman Jaley Wacker each served 100 percent.
Six-foot-2 Wacker also had a team-high seven blocks against the smaller Tech front line.
Techs Leah McKenna is third in the conference in individual kills, averaging 3.15 kills per game.
The Friday match is slated to begin at 7 p.m. At Butte, the match will begin at 1 p.m.