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MSU-N spikers battle tough teams in Las Vegas

If the Montana State University-Northern volleyball team was looking for the toughest teams it could find to prepare for the upcoming Frontier Conference volleyball season, then the Skylights found them over the weekend.

Northern was in Las Vegas this past weekend for the UGF-Vegas Challenge and the Skylights played five difficult matches in just three days time. The Skylights went 1-4 against some highly-touted opponents and they wrapped up the nonconference portion of their schedule with a 6-8 overall record.

Northern opened with a heart-breaking five-set loss to Lubbock-Christian of Texas on Friday night in Las Vegas. The Chaps beat the Skylights by scores of 20-25, 27-25, 28-30, 25-20 and 15-11 in what was a wild affair. Hillary Isleifson returned from a week one injury to rack up 15 kills and 13 digs for MSU-N, while Abby Nicholas added 15 kills, Joni Nagy had 32 assists and 12 digs and Victoria Polo totaled seven blocks.

In the first of three matches on Saturday, Northern bounced right back to sweep Arizona Christian by scores of 25-17, 25-14 and 25-17. It was a dominant performance by the Skylights in what turned out to be along second day in Vegas.

After beating the Firestorm, Northern fell in its second five-setter of the tournament, this time to eventual tourney champion Cal-State San Marcos. The Cougars defeated the Skylights in a grueling five-setter, and Northern wasn't done going the distance either.

In their final match of the second day, the Skylights fell to Sterling College of Kansas in another five-set marathon. Sterling beat the Skylights by scores of 28-26, 18-25, 25-19, 20-25 and 15-10.

MSU-N then wrapped up the tourney with a loss to the nationally-ranked LaSierra Eagles on Sunday. The Eagles defeated the Skylights in straight sets by scores of 25-21, 25-13 and 25-17.

MSU-N returns home to open the Frontier Conference season with a Saturday night match against arch rival Carroll College. The Skylights and Saints will get their match underway at 5 p.m. Saturday at the newly-renovated Armory Gymnasium.


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