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Skylights lose tough matches at season-opening tourney in Butte


August 27, 2018

With such a young team coming into the new season, Montana State University-Northern volleyball coach Rose Obunaga knows there will be some growing pains.

And against stiff competition on the opening weekend of the season, that’s exactly what the Skylights experienced.

Northern was in Butte for the season-opening Big Sky Challenge Friday and Saturday, where the Skylights fell in all four of their matches. MSU-N lost to University of Cal-Merced, Vanguard University, Multnomah College and the College of Idaho.

The tournament started Friday where the Skylights opened the regular season against GSAC stalwart Cal-Merced. And Northern came out strong, winning the first set 25-22. But, the Skylights couldn’t keep up the pace, losing three straight games, by scores of 25-12, 25-23 and 25-20.

Offensively, MSU-N finished the match with 36 kills, led by seven apiece from Jessica Curl and Emily Gutierrez. Shanai Neubauer had 10 assists and nine digs, while Hannah Amtmann had a match-high 29 digs, and the Skylights tallied five blocks.

Blocking would turn out to be one of the strength’s of the weekend of the Skylights, but in their second match Friday, they still fell short. Northern lost to Vanguard by scores of 17-21, 25-17 and 25-10. Abigail Ellison had five kills for the Skylights, while Hailey Warren served four aces. The Skylights added seven blocks,

Things didn’t get any easier for Northern Saturday. In the morning, MSU-N fell to Multnomah in a sweep, by scores ofd 25-22, 25-23 and 25-21. Every set was close, but MSU-N couldn’t quite get over the hump. Curl had eight kills and a solo block, while Northern had 10 blocks as a team. Warren had 12 assists and an ace, while Amtmann finished with 20 digs.

In the final match of the tournament, the Skylights lost a four-set battle with C of I. The Yotes, of the Cascade Conference, beat the Skylights by scores of 25-20, 25-20, 23-25 and 25-15. MSU-N had 38 kills in the match, seven more than C of I, with Jordan O’Connor Ellison each tallying eight. Neubauer had 19 assists and 15 digs, while Amtmann finished with 17 digs and Ellison had 13. Northern’s blocking was again strong, with 11 team blocks. Curl led the way with two.

Now, with some regular season experience under their belts, the Skylights will turn their attention to the tough Bellevue College Tournament Friday and Saturday in Bellevue, Nebraska.

UC-Merced def. MSU-Northern

22-25, 25-12, 25-23, 25-20

MSU-N - Kills 36 (Emily Guiterrez 7, Jessica Curl 7), Assists 30 (Shania Neubauer 10), Aces 10 (Jordan O'Connor 3), Digs 63 (Hannah Amtmann 29), Blocks 5.

Vanguard def. MSU-Northern

21-17, 25-17, 25-10

MSU-N - Kills 21 (Abigail Ellison 3), Assists 9 (Shania Neubauer 4), Aces 3 (Emily Gutierrez 2), Digs 23 (Hannah Amtmann 10), Blocks 4.

Multnomah def. MSU-Northern

25-22, 25-23, 25-21

MSU-N - Kills 30 (Jessica Curl 8), Assists 23 (Hailey Warren 12), Aces 4 (M. Tanner 4), Digs 48 (Hannah Amtmann 20), Blocks 10.

College of Idaho def. MSU-Northern

25-20, 25-20, 23-25, 25-15

MSU-N - Kills 38 (A. Ellison 8, J. O'Connor 8), Assists 34 (Shania Neubauer 19), Aces 2 (E. Gutierrez 1, A. Ponce 1), Digs 68 (Hannah Amtmann 17, Shania Neubauer 15), Blocks 11.


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