By Tiffany L. Rehbein
The Skylights returned home from the Frontier Conference scrimmage with a second place finish. And it wasnt the basketball team.
When senior captain Melanie Baack said, Do you know how long its been that we didnt finish last? no one could answer.
The second place finish meant a lot to the fifth-year Skylight, said head coach Lisa Handley.
The highlight of the scrimmage was the match against Handleys alma mater, Rocky Mountain College. The Skylights won 15-7, 11-15, 15-13. That win in head-to-head competition pushed them into the No. 2 seed in the finals.
It was the most heated match there, Handley said.
Sophomore Gabrielle Chamblis had three aces in the match and the Skylights team netted a 94 serving percentage.
It was an exciting win but it was a tough win at the same time, Handley said. A great rivalry has begun.
The Skylights opened the tournament against MT Tech and lost a heartbreaker to the Orediggers, 15-13, 6-15, 13-15. Heather Hammonds had 11 kills in the match-up but 14 Skylight errors dimmed the effort.
Poor serving killed us, Handley said. Missing 14 serves is like giving them a game.
However, the Skylights came ready to play, opening the first game 7-0 and went on to win 15-13.
Tech jumped out to an early lead in game two evening the match 1-1 after downing the Skylights 6-15.
In game three, at one point Northern led 13-9, but four consecutive Oredigger aces knocked the Skylights down a notch as MT Tech went on to win 15-13.
In the first match against Western Montana College, the Skylights fell 2-15, 9-15, 15-11.
The Bulldogs had a huge front line, Handley said. Their outside schooled our blockers and defense.
Because each team played three games, the Skylights had the opportunity to come back and beat the Bulldogs.
The third game we believed we could play with them, Handley said. We started serving at their best hitter, taking her out of the attack. We fought hard and played with heart and soul and were thrilled to be the only team to take a game away from Western.
In the finals, again the Skylights managed a 94 serve percentage and only committed three errors in serve receive. However, it was not enough to overcome Westerns strengths.
Overall, serve receive was the highlight, Handley said. We serve received well every match.
Handley said she was happy with the ability of most of the players to play in different positions.
I was very happy with their effort and the level of their play, Handley said. Hopefully, well just go up from there.
No set starters have been named at this time and two different line ups are being tested.
The Skylights will have one more weekend of non-conference play to decide on a definite line up when they travel to Moorhead, Minn., Sept. 3 and 4, to play two NCAA schools.
Friday, Sept. 3, the Skylights will play Division II University of North Dakota at 3 p.m. and they will meet Division III Concordia College at 5 p.m.
That will be another opportunity to mix up the line up a little, Handley said.