The 17th-ranked Carroll College volleyball team overcame a slow start to earn a 16-25, 25-22, 25-27, 25-17, 25-8 win over surging MSU-Northern on Friday at the Armory in Havre.
Paige Montgomery notched 23 kills with a .354 hitting percentage and Holly Morehouse had 21 kills with a .404 percentage to lead the attack. Jonni Dorr had 56 assists and 18 digs and Natalie Kassa tallied 30 digs to lead the Carroll back line.
The Saints looked to be right on pace in the first set, building a 4-1 lead, but Northern rattled off an 8-1 run to take control of the set en route to a 25-16 win.
The Saints answered in the second set, trailing 15-14, scoring five straight behind the serving of freshman Ayla Carpenter to take control and earn the 25-22 win.
Carroll started Set 3 up 6-1, but the Skylights rallied and took a 14-13 lead before the Saints would recover. The two teams would battle the rest of the set but Northern earned the 27-25 win and a 2-1 set advantage.
The fourth set was a back-and-forth battle. The Saints trailed 9-8 before going on a 5-0 run to take control of the set, and they would close on another 5-0 run to win the set 25-17 and set up a deciding fifth set.
“We played on our heels in the first three sets and didn’t get comfortable at all until the middle of the fourth set,” coach Moe Boyle said. “Once we found our groove, we went to work. It was nice to finish the match with that momentum. We would like to carry that into tomorrow.”
The Saints rolled with the momentum and outhit MSUN, .269 to .034 in the final set en route to the 15-8 match-clinching win.
Montgomery and Morehouse’s performance highlighted a strong night for the Saints but for Montgomery it didn’t look like it had the makings of solid performance in the first set.
“Paige and Holly were great tonight,” Boyle said. “I think Paige started with three errors on her first three attempts but, wow, she got it rolling and was huge for us. Holly was just awesome, two errors on 47 attempts is very, very good.”
Boyle gives credit to the Northern for their strong performance.
“They are a much improved team from what we saw earlier this season,” she said. “Timi Severson is a great player and did a lot of great things. Cassie Krueger was hitting the ball all over the court. This team will have a lot to say when the conference tournament comes around.”
The Saints now move to 7-2 in conference play with three matches remaining on the slate. The win, combined with a loss by Montana Tech, gives Carroll a chance to clinch a share of a second-consecutive Frontier Conference title tomorrow with a win over the University of Great Falls.
The match is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the McLaughlin Center in Great Falls.