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Skylights take one more shot

Northern heads to Butte for the 2018 Frontier Volleyball Tournament

 

November 8, 2018

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern junior libero Hannah Amtmann and the Skylights will be in Butte Friday for the opening round of the 2018 Frontier Conference Volleyball Tournament. Northern takes on second-seeded Providence Friday at 5 p.m.

The Montana State University-Northern Skylights have one more chance to post a win in Frontier Conference play this season. And it comes on the final weekend of the volleyball season.

Friday afternoon, Northern will take on the University of Providence in the first round of the 2018 Frontier Conference Volleyball Tournament in Butte. The Skylights are the No. 7 seed, while the Argos are seeded second.

For Northern, the young Skylights have a chance to play loose and play free, because they are certainly underdogs in the tourney. Northern was also swept by Providence during the regular season.

Friday's match also gives Northern a chance to continue to grow, according to head coach Rose Obunaga. MSU-N graduates just two seniors in Jessica Curl and McKaylie Tanner, while overall, the Skylights are a young team, they will have a lot of returners next season.

"The girls have grown a lot this season," Obunaga said after Northern battled UM-Western in four sets last Saturday in the Armory Gymnasium. "And we need to continue to grow and mature as a team, especially going into our tournament."

No doubt, Northern will use the Frontier tourney as a chance to head into the offseason, and 2019 with some positive momentum. Despite coming up short last weekend against Rocky Mountain College and Western, the Skylights have played much better volleyball in late October and in November than they did at the start of Frontier Conference play. Freshmen like Emily Gutierrez and Abigail Ellison, as well as players like Jordan O'Connor and Katia Michelotti have started to come on strong in the last month, and the Skylights will be looking for more of the same in Butte.

Of course, the Frontier tourney will not be easy. Top-seeded Rocky (27-3) has a first-round by and will play the lowest remaining seed in the field in the semifinals. The tournament starts Friday at 2 p.m. with No. 4 seed Lewis-Clark State (17-8) taking on No. 5 Carroll College (22-14). Northern (1-23) and Providence (19-9) will follow and the first round wraps up with No. 3 seed Montana Tech (16-14) taking on No. 6 UM-Western (6-16).

The tournament continues Saturday with the semifinals set for 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The championship match is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday night. The winner of the Frontier will receive an automatic bid to the NAIA national volleyball tournament, which starts next weekend. All of the action at the Frontier tourney takes place at Montana Tech's HYPER Complex. Northern and Providence will play at 5 p.m. Friday.

 

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