By Tiffany L. Rehbein
The MSU-Northern Skylights notched 16 blocks and hit .289 at the net in its three-game sweep of Westminster College at the MSU-Northern gymnasium Saturday.
The Skylights, 4-5 in the conference and 5-14 overall, won 15-9, 15-4, 15-6 in Frontier Conference action.
It was a good win, said first-year head coach Lisa Handley. It was a total team effort, everybody got some playing time.
Senior Melanie Baack led the Skylights both offensively and defensively as she notched a team-high 10 kills and a team-high eight digs in the victory.
Sophomore Gabrielle Chambliss tallied seven digs in the matchup. She also had a team-high 20 assists in the match, while Jessica Gerenz tallied 14.
I was extremely pleased with her defense, Handley said about Chambliss. As a team, weve really been focusing on defense first.
The Skylights had only two errors on serve receive, but, while serving, managed to smoke eight aces across the net.
Lyndi Hostetter, Jen Sanders and Chambliss each tallied two in the contest.
The Skylights lead the Frontier Conference with a 94.4 team serving percentage, and broke the former 91 percent Northern school record.
Saturday, Connie Fritz, Janelle Gillies, Chambliss, Sara McMillan and Hostetter each served 100 percent for the Skylights. As a team, they served 94 percent on the night.
Sanders leads the Frontier Conference in serving, having missed only one serve so far this season.
Westminster (0-7, 1-23), in its first season as a full member of the conference, hit only .138 at the net and managed only eight blocks against the Skylights.
The Skylights opened the second game with 12 unanswered points en route to the victory.
Friday, at home against nationally-ranked Lewis-Clark State College, the Skylights were overpowered 15-11, 15-4, 15-12.
We passed extremely well, we hit very well, Handley said. We hit around their block, and that created a lot of opportunities.
The Skylights notched 32 kills, led by Baack with nine and Adrienne Poplawski with seven.
Defensively, Northern had 40 digs, led by Baack with nine and Chambliss with eight in the contest.
I was extremely pleased with the fact that they didnt take us out of our offense, we took them out of their offense, Handley said. Jaley Wacker and our middles were putting up huge blocks.
Northern tallied 10 blocks in the contest. Heather Hammonds and Wacker notched three each, while Poplawski and Hostetter each had two in the match.
So, Lewis-Clark turned to tipping, rather than hard-hitting, at the net, which allowed the Skylights a brief lead against the Warriors.
Lewis and Clark has the winning edge, Handley said. We didnt give them the lead back, they just took it. We fought every inch of the way.
Again, the Skylights served 94 percent, led by Sanders with 10 perfect serves. Chambliss burned three aces in the matchup.
The Skylights travel to Carroll College (6-1, 18-8) Wednesday for a Frontier Conference match. With a win at Carroll, the Skylights would be sitting nicely vying for a playoff position.