By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Senior night and parents night pumped the Skylights just enough to lift them to a three-game sweep over Rocky Mountain College in Frontier Conference action Friday.
A shot at the playoffs, something unknown to the MSU-Northern Skylights volleyball team during the past seven years, might have pumped them a little, too.
Northern (5-6, 7-15) downed Rocky 18-16, 15-9, 15-6 at the MSU-N gym.
Oh my goodness, it was fun, said first-year head coach Lisa Handley. They played really well. Senior night and parents night always pumps the girls up a little more.
Although Rocky scored first after a Northern hit into the net, the Skylights put together their best blocking of the year to overpower the Bears.
Heather Hammonds had a team-high six blocks in the match, while 6-foot-1 freshman Jaley Wacker added five in the contest. The Skylights tallied 18 total blocks in the match.
The Bears, who played without All-American hitter Christine Schmitt and played with injured outside hitter Amelia Pasch, evened the score at 14, but could not hold on for the win.
Rockys big middle hitter Sally Powers attempted a tip that fell out of bounds. The error swayed the game enough to allow Northern to coast to victory.
A bad second pass on Rockys end enabled Northerns Adrienne Poplawski a tip for point that lifted the Skylights, 15-14. Poplawski had five kills in the match and hit a .714 attack percentage.
After a side out, Rocky scored twice to go up 16-15, but Northerns Gabrielle Chambliss sailed a serve for an ace to rally the Skylights, who keyed on a young defensive specialist on Rockys end. Chambliss served 93 percent, including two aces in the match.
As a team, the Skylights nailed 10 aces in the contest.
Rockys Rachel Behen, who leads the conference in aces, missed a kill that lifted the Skylights, 17-16.
A back set by Havre native Marca Compton to an empty right-side hitting position sewed up the Skylights 18-16 victory.
Lyndi Hostetter sparked the Skylights to a 3-0 lead on her serving in game two. Hostetter had nine digs and two ace serves in the match.
To close game two, the Skylights notched seven unanswered points en route to the victory.
In game three, after a Hostetter serve that lifted the Skylights 14-6, senior Melanie Baack crushed a ball at Rocky for the match point.
It was the most fitting way for her to end her career at MSU-Northern, Handley said.
Baack had a team-high eight kills in the match, served 100 percent, and tallied nine digs in the contest.
Jessica Gerenz led the Skylights with 13 assists in the effort.
There was great support from the fans and the community, Handley said. Its been a really great year to play at Havre.
The Skylights, with the win, are still alive in the playoff hunt. Carroll College defeated Rocky Saturday, which leaves Montana Tech (0-10) in a must-win situation over Rocky in order for the Skylights to make the playoffs.
If Montana Tech should lose, the Skylights, who meet Lewis-Clark State Friday, must take at least one game from the Warriors to stay in contention.
This was a good way for the team to finish out the season at home, Handley said. This is a good win for us to go into Lewis-Clark.