HELENA — A sweep of Montana State-Northern was in the cards for Carroll’s volleyball team on Saturday afternoon inside the PE Center. With a 3-0 victory over the Skylights, Carroll stretched its winning streak to five matches to keep pace atop the Frontier Conference.
“I really feel like they came to play today,” Saints head coach Moe Boyle said of her team. “There was a much less heavy feeling for our girls today, and you could tell that from warmups all the way through. I was proud of the way that they bounced back from the lack of energy last night for sure.”
The first set on Saturday was handled 25-20 by the Saints, but just like on Friday, a lull was looming not far off. Something Carroll has identified and will continue to work on moving forward, the Saints allowed Northern to take control of the second set 7-2.
It took a battle and a string of points for Carroll to grab back the second set advantage, eventually out-scoring the Skylights 9-3 down the stretch to go up 2-0 in the match.
“We have to rid that,” Boyle said. “That’s that lull that we talked about last night...I know we were two or three down [in the third set] to start, then we kind of got on a roll. That will be a focus in practice this week for sure. You have this sense of urgency, but we need that from the first set, not waiting until after we’re up one or two.”
Down once again to begin the third set, the Saints tied things at 15 and used some solid defense to seize a 25-21 third set victory.
In the win, Carroll out-hit Northern .288 to .150 and edged the Skylights by six kills with 46. Junior Lexi Mikkelsen notched a match-high 15 kills, added four digs and finished the day with a .256 hitting percentage. Junior Taelyr Krantz contributed another 12 kills and hit .550 on the afternoon.
Sophomore Mara Lynch and freshman Julia Carr paced Carroll with 20 and 13 digs, respectively, as the Saints dug 63 balls to Northern’s 58.
“The adjustments that they made on the court from last night to today were incredible,” Boyle said. “I think we got way more touches on the block. I think our defense did a tremendous job keeping the ball in play and not just getting the ball up….I think our defense did a great job putting the ball in play for us to be able to run our offense.”
Northern seniors Shania Neubauer and Rylee Burmester found themselves with double digit digs on Saturday as senior Elissa Lind was the lone Skylight to have double figure kills with 13. Lind amassed a .281 hitting percentage in the loss, but freshman Alana Graves hit at a negative-0.32 clip in 31 total attempts.
The 1-5 Skylights are slated to host Providence on Friday in Havre with a 7 p.m. start time.
Carroll is scheduled to be back in action on Friday against Rocky Mountain College in a game that will help decide first place in the Frontier. The match is slated to begin at 7 p.m. in Billings.