By Ryan Divish
A losing streak will come to an end when the Montana State University-Northern volleyball team faces the University of Great Falls tonight in Great Falls.
Both the Skylights and the Argos are in midst of their own respective losing streaks, and view tonight as the best chance to pick up a much needed win.
For the Skylights, their last win came against UGF less than a month ago on Sept. 21 in Havre. Northern defeated UGF 30-26, 30-28, 30-27 in a match that was pretty close.
However, Northern played pretty sluggishly and showed an inability to put the Argos away after taking leads in each of the games.
Much has changed for the Skylights and Argos since then. Northern, 1-7 in the Frontier Conference and 9-16 overall, put in a new offense and changed its lineup. While the changes have improved their play overall, the Skylights have lost six consecutive matches.
UGF picked up their first and only win of the season during that time. The Argos defeated Westminster College in five games in Salt Lake City on Oct. 5, but have lost four straight matches since.
Also, the Argos saw perhaps their best player, Nadine Moncks, leave the team after differences with head coach Dick Scott. It was during the first match with the Skylights that Scott benched Moncks for almost the entire match. Instead, he moved his setter Janet Austin to outside hitter replacing Moncks, while starting Jaclyn Bird at setter. The formula worked and Scott stuck with it. Moncks subsequently quit the team.
Despite only having one win on the season, the Argos are still a dangerous team. They have played better with the new lineup. While Austin doesn't hit with the power that Moncks did, she is very consistent and the team leader on the floor. Hitters Deidre Ranf and Stephanie Smith also have played well for UGF as of late.
Much like Great Falls, the Skylights have struggled with consistency all season. They show glimpses of their potential, but serve-receive mistakes and inexperience have cost them in close matches.
Northern's talent is still there. Tamecia Watkins, Jasmine Mitchell and Tanja Bruski have the ability to put the ball away, while Emmy Olson and Brandi Pushka are coming off possibly their best matches of the season.
There certainly won't be a lack of intensity on the court. Besides needing a win, both teams feel that they should beat the other. There is a definite rivalry between the two and the animosity between the teams is very real.
The Northern-UGF match will start tonight at 7 p.m. at the McLaughlin Center in Great Falls.