Skylights swept on long road trip
What started off as a just one tough loss on the road turned into two for the Montana State University-Northern volleyball team.
The Skylights were on the road for the first time in Frontier Conference play and suffered a five-set loss at Westminster College on Thursday night, and a three-set sweep at nationally-ranked Lewis-Clark State on Saturday afternoon.
Thursday night was particularly tough for Northern as the Skylights had a 1-0 and a 2-1 lead over the Griffins before falling in five sets by scores of 24-26, 25-18, 26-28, 25-21 and 15-10.
After a great third set win, the Skylights looked like they were on their way to victory in Salt Lake City. The Skylights jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the fourth set but the Griffins responded with a 7-2 run to get the set close again, and after going ahead 16-15, they never trailed again. The fifth set belonged to the Griffins and they raced out to a quick 7-3 advantage. Mitchell had two of her four kills in the set during that initial push and to take the momentum of the match. Northern used a 5-1 run in the middle of the stanza to get to within 11-9 before Vance finished off the night with two kills.
Hillary Isleifson led two Skylights in double figures in kills with 13. She hit .258 on the night with eight digs and four blocks. Kelsey Williams recorded 12 kills and 13 digs and Northern had 78 digs as a team. Holly Cartwright had 17 of Northern's 78 digs while Sierra Diehl had four aces and one block.
Still tied for first place in the Frontier Conference after Thursday night's loss, things got even more difficult for Northern Saturday in Lewiston, Idaho as the Skylights fell to the Warriors by scores of 25-12, 25-12 and 28-26.
Despite playing a great third set, LC State jumped all over MSU-N early on. And the Skylights hit difficult .011 on the night.
Williams, who played her freshman season at LC State, led MSU-N with seven kills while Isleifson added five. Sierra Diehl had two aces and Lynnsie Togiai had eight digs.
With the two road losses, the Skylights fell to 3-2 in conference play and sit tied for second in the league standings.
MSU-N (11-6) takes on Carroll College Friday night in Havre and then will host Rocky Mountain College on Saturday afternoon.
Westminster def. MSU-Northern
24-26, 25-18, 26-28, 25-21, 15-10
MSU-N – Kills 54 (Hillary Isleifson 13, Kelsey Williams 12); Assists 48 (Nahe Keanaaina 24, Isleifson 20), Aces 5 (Sierra Diehl 4), Digs 78 (Holly Cartwright 17, Keanaaina 14, Williams 13), Blocks 9 (Diehl 1).
LC State def. MSU-Northern
25-12, 25-12, 28-26
MSU-N – Kills 20 (Kelsey Williams 7, Hillary Isleifson 5), Assists 18 (Isleifson 8, Nahe Keanaaina 8), Aces 6 (Sierra Diehl 2), Digs 33 (Lynnsie Togiai 8), Blocks 1.