By Alan Sorensen
The Montana State University-Northern Skylights volleyball team looks to improve its record in its last action of the season this weekend at home.
The Skylights host Lewis-Clark at 5 p.m. Friday in the MSU-Northern gym. The game, originally slated for 7 p.m., was rescheduled to 5 p.m. to accommodate Northern football fans. The Northern Lights square off against Carroll at Blue Pony Stadium at 6:30 p.m.
At 7 p.m. Saturday, the Skylights will hold parents night as they close out their season hosting Westminster of Utah.
Last week, Northern fell to Carroll College's Lady Saints on Wednesday and the Rocky Mountain Lady Bears on Friday.
"I thought that we played really well on Wednesday, but on Friday, I just felt that we came out flat and Rocky played extremely well," Head Coach Lisa Handley said. "I felt that our passing was strong, but we just couldn't get the plays running."
The Lady Bears proved to the Skylights just why they are ranked number one in the Frontier Conference volleyball standings.
When the match was over, Rocky had scored a lopsided three-game victory 15 to 6, 15 to 0 and 15 to 9.
Northern now stands 2 wins and 8 losses in conference play and 8 and 18 overall.
Northern was led by Andrea Knox with seven kills, Connie Becker with six and Jessica Gerenz with five. Knox also had two service aces, as did Gabrielle Chambliss. Gerenz led in assists with 10 and Chambliss had nine.
As a team, Northern was just .081 in attack percentage and had a mere 85 percent on serves. Its serve receive percent was 92.5.
"We know that we can play against a team like Rocky, beat a team like Rocky, at least give them a challenge," Handley said, "even a little more now, knowing that Carroll beat Rocky on Saturday night in four. We know that we are capable of playing teams of that caliber, but we need to play at that level every night."
Northern gets a chance to elevate its game Friday against one of the best teams in the nation.
"Lewis-Clark is ranked 13th in the nation and the only two matches they've lost are to Rocky," Handley said. "They're a very solid team all the way around fundamentally solid, plus big hitters.
"Even though we're out of the conference race, going into Friday night's match, the thing we want to look for is beating them, because if we beat them, that's something (the players will) always remember.
"The first goal is to play at our level that we know we can play and then try to get the win."
The match against Westminster Saturday gives Northern a chance to end its season with a win in front of a friendly crowd.
"It's parents night," Handley said. "We're looking to finish our season off with a good note. The basic thing is we can't look past them."
The Skylights beat Westminster in Salt Lake City on Oct. 14.
"They are a much improved team from last year," Handley said. "Their coach has done a really good job of improving the team from last year. They took Western to four.
"It's a match that I'm looking forward to giving everyone a lot of playing time."