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UMW volleyball opens conference play

UMW News Bureau

The University of Montana Western (UMW) Bulldog volleyball team opens conference play on Friday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. against the Montana State University-Northern (MSU-N) Skylights in Havre, Mont. On Saturday, Sept. 10, the Bulldogs move on to Great Falls to play the University of Great Falls (UGF) Argos at 2 p.m. By Lowell Peterson The University of Montana Western (UMW) Bulldog volleyball team opens conference play on Friday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. against the Montana State University-Northern (MSU-N) Skylights in Havre, Mont. On Saturday, Sept. 10, the Bulldogs move on to Great Falls to play the University of Great Falls (UGF) Argos at 2 p.m. “We have been looking forward to the start of conference play for a long time and the team can't wait to get after it this weekend,” head coach Lisa Griffiths said. “We had a strong week of practice and feel prepared for the tough competition we will see.” The Skylights, 7-5 on the season, will be playing at home for the first time since Aug. 19. The big hitters at the net for MSU-N are Hillary Isleifson and Kelsey Williams. Isleifson has 110 kills on the season and Williams is close behind with 105. Setter Nahe Keanaaina tops the team in assists with 329 and Williams leads the Skylights with 13 service aces. On the defensive side, Victoria Polo has 25 blocks at the net and Holly Cartwright leads in digs with 159. The Argos have won 13 straight matches and bring a 15-1 record into their Friday contest against Montana Tech. Kelsey VanUden leads the Argos in kills with 207 and Taylor Lucero is next with 141. Averi Pasma (289 assists) and Kila Adams (229 assits) share the setter duties. Kyah Piva tops the team with 21 service aces and 225 digs. Maggie McCall (41) and Lucero (35) are the team leaders in blocks. The Bulldogs have won two matches in a row to up their record to 5-6 on the season. Kayla Schmid leads the team in kills with 92 and Charelle Minor is second with 74. Freshman setter Paige Latimer has a team high 231 assists and 18 service aces. Susanne Rehse is first in blocks with 37 and Minor has 23. Schmid has a team high 162 digs and libero Shelby Mack is second with 148. The Frontier Conference will be a very strong league again this year and Griffiths knows her team will have to play at a high level to contend. Lewis-Clark State (7th) and Rocky Mountain College (14th) are ranked in the top 25 in the latest NAIA national rankings. The University of Great Falls and Carroll College have also received votes. "With half of the teams in the Frontier Conference receiving attention in the national polls, the team understands the challenge ahead and is looking forward to the fight," Griffiths stated. "As always, we will be focusing on playing disciplined volleyball on our side of the net and controlling the tempo of the match."