By Matt B. Walen
The Montana State University-Northern Skylights volleyball team split weekend matches with Frontier Conference rivals to improve their record to 1-2 in conference play and 7-12 overall.
The Skylights lost to Western Montana Friday 10-15, 15-5, 15-7, 15-11 and downed Montana Tech 15-7, 15-4, 15-12 Saturday.
Head coach Lisa Handley said her team played well both nights but Western played better.
"Everybody is stepping it up offensively," Handley said of her players. "We passed really well. We hit .244 as a team against Western but we had a mental letdown in the second and third games against them."
The mental letdown and communication problems hurt the Skylights against Western, Handley said.
"But I can complain, Western is a good team," she said.
Saturday night was totally different for the Skylights.
"We put together a complete match and everyone contributed," Handley said. "Our blocking is getting better and better every match."
Adrea Knox led the Skylights with 15 kills Friday night. Knox also recorded five blocks against Western.
Lyndi Hostetter had 18 digs for the Skylights against Western. Gabrielle Chambliss posted 25 assists and had two aces Friday night.
Knox and Mitsu Frazier recorded 10 and nine kills, respectively, Saturday in the Tech victory. Jessica Gerenz also added seven kills in 11 tries.
Connie Fritz and Hostetter led the Skylights Saturday with 14 digs apiece. Fritz also posted four aces in the match.
Junior defensive specialist Janelle Gilles fractured her wrist Friday against Western and will be sidelined for at least two weeks, Handley said.
Knox replaced the injured Gilles and played all the way around for the Skylights.
The Skylights play Carroll College tonight in Helena at Helena Capital High School. The first serve will be made at 7 p.m.
Handley said the match will be a tough one, especially since the Saints recently defeated Western in four. The Skylights lost to Carroll in five games in Helena last year and the Saints should be one of the top three teams in the conference this season.