The No. 17 Carroll College Saints host the Montana Western Bulldogs on Friday at 7 p.m. in a key Frontier Conference battle at the PE Center.
Carroll (15-4, 4-1 Frontier Conference) sits atop the standings, with the Bulldogs (8-9, 3-2) right behind at second in the conference.
Carroll is playing some of its best volleyball of the season and enters the match with a three-match winning streak. Part of that can be attributed to the stellar play of Paige Montgomery (242 kills, 3.4 per set) and Holly Morehouse (212 kills, 2.9 per set). Both players are in the top five of the Frontier Conference for kills per set.
Setter Jonni Dorr’s service and assist numbers are also among the best in the conference. Dorr is averaging 10.3 assists per set and half an ace per set (best in Frontier).
Western is under the leadership of first-year coach Brent Lewis, and the Bulldogs have shown improvement as the season has progressed.
Carroll coach Moe Boyle has been impressed with their early growth.
"They are going to be scrappy," Boyle said. "They are going to be good on defense and they run a quick offense. We have to be prepared for a battle."
Montana Western is led by libero Dylan Fowler, who leads the Bulldogs in aces (14) and digs (323). Britney Chilcott will also be a factor around the net, averaging a block per set, the fifth best in the conference.
A season ago, the Saints defeated Montana Western 3-0 three times, twice in the regular season a third time at the Frontier Conference tournament.
Western is the Saints’ lone opponent this week. Carroll College’s September was full of doubleheaders. After Western, the Saints get a full week to prepare for Johnson & Wales University of Colorado, a match which will be played at a neutral site in Billings.
"We need to play solid consistent volleyball from start to finish," Boyle said of Friday's match. "I feel like we've made some strides offensively, but we still have a lot of work to do. Our serve and serve-receive need to continue to produce at a high level for us to be successful and I think there is potential for our hitting to continue to improve."