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Skylights travel to RMC, Carroll

 

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It's been a difficult and emotional few weeks for the Montana State University-Northern volleyball team.

First, the Skylights were riding high by getting off to their best start in the last six seasons. But the journey has hit a bump in the road, as Northern has lost three straight Frontier Conference matches, including last week's home-opening losses to nationally-ranked Lewis-Clark State and Westminster College.

And things won't get any easier for Northern (2-3, 9-6) as the Skylights travel to Rocky Mountain College tonight and Carroll College on Saturday.

"We need to get better," MSU-N head coach Bill Huebsch said after last weekend's losses at home. "We need to get back to being sound on serve-receive and we need to serve better. These next two matches on the road are going to be tough, so we are going to really have to have some kids step up and play like we were playing before we went to Great Falls.

UGF started Northern's three-game slide and since that time, the Skylights have fallen from second to sixth in the Frontier Conference standings.

And tonight's match in Billings will be a big test, as will Saturday's tilt in Helena.

RMC (3-2, 12-5) is playing sound volleyball and the Bears are always tough on their home floor. Rocky is currently in third place in the league standings, and the Bears have a big front line and an outstanding setter.

Meanwhile, Carroll (4-1, 13-4) is battling with LC State atop the league standings. The Saints have a great setter, plenty of size and great players on the outside. Despite losing some key seniors off a team which went to the NAIA Western Regional a year ago, the Saints are still as talented as anyone in the league, making Northern's road trip this weekend even more challenging.

But the Skylights have proven resilient, and they'll be hoping for more of the same this weekend. They have one of the best middle-blocker's in the conference in senior Kaylee Bossert, and their depth is showing plenty of promise too. Last weekend, Tasha Dyrland, Paige Richarsdson and Seirra Diehl all stepped up big for Northern, and the Skylights will need that depth again if they want to have success on the road. And wins this weekend would go a long way for Northern, which has six of its last eight conference matches at home.

Tonight's match between Northern and Rocky will start at 7 in Billings. Saturday night's match between MSU-N and Carroll will get underway at 5 p.m. in Helena. The Frontier Conference will take its annual week off next weekend, then the Skylights will play Montana Tech on Oct. 15 in Havre. UM-Western will come to Havre on Oct. 16.

 
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