By Tiffany L. Rehbein
MSU-Northern Skylights Jessica Gerenz had 12 kills while the Carroll College Saints averaged 20 digs per game in its Wednesday night victory over the Skylights in Frontier Conference action.
Give credit where credit is due, said first-year head coach Lisa Handley. They definitely deserve credit.
The Saints won 11-15, 15-6, 15-6, 15-12 and improved its conference record to 4-0 while the Skylights evened their record at 2-2 in the conference.
The Skylights stormed the floor in the first game, taking a 6-0 lead behind the serving of sophomores Gabrielle Chambliss and Lyndi Hostetter.
Chambliss finished with a 94 percent serving total and Hostetter went 100 percent serving. Lyndi Hostetter and Heather Hammonds also served 100 percent in the match.
The first game they came out fired up and ready to go, Handley said.
With momentum in its favor, Northern continued to pound the ball to a 15-11 victory.
The Skylights opened the second game and Chambliss scored three quick points on three Carroll errors.
After a series of side-outs, junior Saint Amy Selk scored seven consecutive points that lifted Carroll to a 7-3 lead.
An ace by senior Jennifer Sanders and a Carroll foul in the net tallied the only other Skylights points in the game. Carroll College took the game 15-6.
In the second game, the passing went down, Handley said. If we cant have three options every single play, their blocks are so good theyre going to get us.
Strong Saints serving kept the Skylights on their toes throughout the match. Carroll finished with eight aces in the match. Northern notched five, including three by senior Melanie Baack in game four.
In game three, Carroll first lit up the scoreboard on a serve by Sarah Search, but Skylights sophomore Adrienne Poplawski tipped an unreachable ball two serves later to even the score at one.
However, the Saints defense managed side-outs while their offense slowly ticked points on the scoreboard to take a 7-1 lead. Of the 80 Saints match digs, Rebecca Elliot had a game-high 17. Search tallied 15 and Amy Agostinelli added 12 in the match.
A big block by Baack and junior Hammonds put another point up for Northern to close the gap to 7-2 but Carroll answered with its own block to go up 8-2.
A missed hit, an out-of-bounds serve and another block by Poplawski and Hammonds tallied the only other Skylights points in the match.
Carrolls Cadie Wierda opened game four with back-to-back aces and Andi Fehrer pounded the ball from the outside to lift the Saints to a 3-0 lead.
Tough Carroll blocking, defensively, kept the Skylights scrambling while hits from the outside and middle lifted the Saints to a 6-1 lead.
But Baack would not die easily, as she served four consecutive points, including two aces, and narrowed the Carroll lead to 6-5.
But the Skylights would get no closer as the Saints went on to win 15-12.
We had way too many unforced errors, Handley said.
On the hitting attack, Northern notched 20 errors, on the serve, four errors and on the serve receive, eight errors.
Poplawski led the Skylights with three solo blocks and five assists while Chambliss had a team-high 72 assists in the match.
The Skylights travel to Billings Saturday to take on Frontier Conference opponent Rocky Mountain College (2-0) at 7 p.m.