By Tiffany L. Rehbein
The rivalry has begun.
The MSU-Northern Skylights travel to Billings Saturday to take on the Rocky Mountain College Bears in Frontier Conference play.
And when the head coach has a fresh degree from the opponents school, a rivalry can do nothing but brew.
First-year head Skylights coach Lisa Handley graduated from Rocky and was a strength and conditioning coach for the Bears last season.
The two teams have met twice this season and split.
Northern downed Rocky 15-7, 11-15, 15-13 at the Frontier Conference scrimmage earlier this year at Dillon. That is when the fires were stoked.
There were fast-action plays and there was high intensity from both teams, Handley said. A rivalry has begun.
Later in the season, at the Frontier Conference tournament, Rocky downed Northern.
In the win, Northern served 94 percent and notched a 2.4 serve receive percentage.
In the loss, Rocky smoked 15 aces. Skylight Lyndi Hostetter had 12 kills on 25 attacks in the match-up.
Rocky, 2-0 in the Frontier Conference, is led by Havre native Marca Compton who has 16 aces and a 98.2 percent serving mark.
However, Hostetter is not far behind with 16 aces and a 98 percent serving mark.
Sophomore Gabrielle Chambliss is No. 5 in the conference with 14 aces and a 95.1 percent serving number.
Senior Bear Rachel Behen has a conference-high 27 aces on the season. Hostetter is No. 4 in the conference with 16.
Rocky Mountain junior Christine Schmitt, from her middle blocker position, leads the conference with a 97 passing percentage.
Bears junior Sally Powers is near the top of the conference with 65 total blocks.
Senior Skylight Heather Hammonds has 30 blocks, good for a seventh place mark in the conference.
Northern leads all teams in serving percentage at 94 percent.
Rocky leads all teams with aces at 130.
Senior Skylight Melanie Baack had four aces against Carroll College Wednesday.
Sophomore Jessica Gerenz led the Skylights Wednesday with 12 kills.
Chambliss had 72 assists in the match.
Hammonds and Jen Sanders both served 100 percent in the contest.
Adrienned Poplawski notched eight blocks and nine kills in the match.
The match is slated to begin at 7 p.m. at Rocky.
This will be a big one for us, Handley said.