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Saints edge Skylights in a battle


September 25, 2017

Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern's Kylie Pasieka, left, goes up high to tip a ball during Friday night's Frontier Conference match with Carroll College in the Armory Gymnasium.

The Montana State University-Northern Skylights were feeling confident coming into their homecoming match with Carroll College Friday night. A two-game Frontier Conference winning streak will do that to a team.

But in a match that was as close as it gets, Carroll was able to sneak out of the Armory Gymnasium with a hard-fought, four-set win. The Fighting Saints beat the Skylights by scores of 25-22, 22-25, 25-20 and 25-21.

“There were some really good rallies, it was a really good match,” Northern head coach Rose Obunaga said. “The ladies played really hard and did everything they could to win the match. Carroll is one of the top teams in our conference, they’re the defending conference champions, so we can feel good about the way we played tonight. It was just a few little things here and there that was the difference.”

The Skylights were certainly feeling good after their sweep of the University of Providence Thursday night. And, a close loss to Carroll in the first set did nothing to deter the Skylights’ confidence.

Trailing 20-18 late in the second set, the Skylights mounted a great charge. A block by Timi Severson and Cassie Krueger started the run, and a few points later, Krueger gave Northern the lead with a service ace. Mikayla Virostek followed that up with a solo block, and on match point, Haley Yoder unleashed a thunderous cross-court kill, which evened the match at 1-1.

And the match went on like that. It was a back-and-forth affair from start-to-finish. In the third set, Northern grabbed a 13-11 lead on a Severson kill, but the Saints would rattle off a 6-1 run. Two kills from Virostek got the Skylights to within two at 20-18, but the Saints had enough to close out the third.

The final set was close, too, with Northern leading by one point on five different occasions. Severson served a critical ace, and back-to-back kills from her and Yoder put the Skylights up 18-17. From there though, Carroll rattled off five straight points, and while Krueger and Katia Michelotti each saved match points with kills, Carroll was able to close out the Skylights on a final kill from Holly Morehouse, who finished the night with 18 kills.

“I thought we were really good with our blocking and our swings tonight,” Obunaga said. “We had a little let-down in serve-receive though. I also thought the girls got a little tired. They played with great energy, but we’re playing with just 10 players right now, so it gets tough later in the matches.”

The Skylights finished the match with 51 kills with Krueger totaling 13, Yoder 12 and Severson 10. Northern’s defense was also outstanding, as the Skylights piled up 111 digs and seven blocks. Hannah Amtmann had 30 digs and Krueger had 29. Ashley Ponce also finished with 20 digs, while Virostek had three solo blocks. Ponce led Northern with a pair of aces as well.

Colin Thompson

Northern's Timi Severson, right, smashes a ball during Friday night's match against Carroll in Havre.

And while the loss was a tough one for Northern, the Skylights are still in great shape through four league matches. They are also at home for two more Frontier matches, as they’ll host Montana Tech this Thursday and Lewis-Clark State Saturday.

“We feel really good about how we’re playing,” Obunaga said. “The girls are playing with a lot of energy, and I think as we go on, we’ll continue to match up very well with the rest of the teams in our conference.”

Carroll def. MSU-Northern

25-22, 22-25, 25-20, 25-21

CC – Kills 59 (Holly Morehouse 18), Assists 55 (Rayna Pilgeram 42), Aces 5 (Laurel Kassa 2), Digs 102 Pilgeram 27), Blocks 9 (Morehouse 3).

MSU-N – Kills 51 (Cassie Krueger 13, Haley Yoder 12, Timi Severson 10), Assists 43 (Shania Neubauer 41), Aces 4 (Ashley Ponce 2), Digs 111 (Hannah Amtmann 30, Krueger 29, Ponce 20, Neubauer 16), Blocks 7 (Mikayla Virostek 3).


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