LC clinches no worse than tie for fifth straight FC title
HAVRE, Mont. - Senior outside hitters Lauryn Herrick and Kelli Tikker combined for 23 kills to help the Lewis-Clark State College women's volleyball team roll to its 12th straight victory with a 25-17, 25-13, 25-22 sweep over Montana State University-Northern on Saturday afternoon.
The victory gave LCSC no worse than a share of the Frontier Conference title for the fifth consecutive season. The win also assured LCSC the top seed at the conference tournament, which will be held Nov. 11-12 in Helena, Mont.
The Warriors, ranked No. 9 in the NAIA, improved to 18-3 overall and 12-1 in conference play. LCSC can wrap up the league title outright next Friday when it takes on Westminster in Salt Lake City.
Rocky Mountain can still tie LCSC for the league title, but it would need to win its final two matches and have LCSC lose to Westminster. Even if that happens, LCSC would receive the top seed in the conference tournament based on the conference tiebreaker, which compares how each team did against the top teams in order. LCSC and Rocky split during the regular season, but LCSC swept Carroll, which is the No. 3 team in the conference, while RMC split with Carroll.
LCSC first-year coach LaToya Harris said while clinching at least a tie for the title is great, the Warriors want to win the crown outright.
"This is one of the goals the team set, but to get there you have to play one set and one match at a time," Harris said. "That has been our focus this season. Just take one point at a time. But this is a great accomplishment, especially with the changes this year."
Saturday's sweep was the eighth during the Warriors' current win streak and 11th this season. LCSC also swept MSU-Northern, 5-7 in league and 13-11 overall, in Lewiston earlier this season.
Harris said the Warriors struggled some early, especially with their passing, but then the Warrior outside hitters took over and "hit the ball with a litt more anger and power behind it."
Herrick had a match-high 13 kills and hit .355 for the match, while Tikker had a double-double with 10 kills and 13 digs. Herrick added nine digs.
Junior right-side hitter Brianne Brown added eight kills, five digs, and a .313 hitting percentage, while freshmen Chelsea Strong added six kills and three of LCSC's seven blocks, including two solo blocks.
"Chelsea's blocking was amazing," Harris said. "She gave us a nice lift and really did a nice job on the court today."
Nevena Dragovic added 35 assits for LCSC, which had 43 kills in the match and hit .301 as a team.
MSU-Northern finished with 27 kills, a .066 hitting percentage, and just two blocks.
"It's nice to get those W's," Harris said of the win.