CollegeFrontier Conference


Frontier notebook: MSU-Northern, UM Western volleyball play well in N.D.; Carroll cross country starts strong

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Posted at 5:02 PM, Sep 11, 2023

The Frontier Conference fall sports schedule is heating up.

The Montana State-Northern and Montana Western volleyball teams found success in North Dakota. Carroll College swept the team titles at the Providence Open to kick off the cross country season. A wild Saturday on the gridiron saw Carroll College rally for an impressive win and Montana Western fall in heartbreaking fashion. Those headlines and more highlight our Frontier Conference notebook for Sept. 11.


Montana State-Northern swept the Frontier Conference player of the week awards after winning three of four matches at the Frontier-North Star Conference Challenge in Valley City, N.D. last week. The Skylights defeated Mayville State 25-22, 25-21, 25-17 and Dickinson State 25-16, 25-20, 28-26 on Friday. They lost to Valley City State 25-22, 25-17, 26-24 on Saturday but bounced back with a 25-23, 25-19, 25-16 win over Winnipeg to close out the road trip.

Alana Graves, Emily Feller and Baily Egan were named the attacker, setter and defender of the week, respectively. Graves, a junior middle blocker from Huntley Project, averaged 4 kills per set with a .323 attack percentage and recorded 16 kills in the Skylights’ sweep of Dickinson State on Friday. Feller, a junior setter from Helena High, averaged 9 assists per set, and Egan, a sophomore libero from Colstrip, anchored the MSU-Northern defense with 4.25 digs per set.

Montana Western, meanwhile, ran its record to 10-0 with four more wins in North Dakota. The Bulldogs defeated Valley City State 12-25, 27-25, 25-20, 25-22; Mayville State 20-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-22; Dickinson State 25-14, 25-16, 25-12; and Winnipeg 25-17, 13-25, 22-25, 25-19, 15-4.

Last week:

Sept. 8

Montana Tech def. William Penn 3-0
Montana Western def. Mayville State 3-1
Montana Western def. Valley City State 3-1
MSU-Northern def. Dickinson State 3-0
MSU-Northern def. Mayville State 3-0
Viterbo def. Montana Tech 3-2

Sept. 9

Dakota State def. Montana Tech 3-0
Montana Western def. Dickinson State 3-0
Montana Western def. Winnipeg 3-2
MSU-Northern def. Winnipeg 3-0
St. Thomas def. Carroll College 3-0
Valley City State def. MSU-Northern 3-0

Up next:

Frontier Conference preview tournament at Dillon


Montana Western vs. Montana Tech, 5 p.m.
Rocky Mountain College vs. Providence, 7 p.m.


MSU-Northern vs. Carroll College, 9 a.m.
Montana Tech vs. Rocky Mountain College, 11 a.m.
Providence vs. Carroll College, 1 p.m.
MSU-Northern vs. Montana Tech, 4 p.m.
Providence vs. Montana Western, 6 p.m.


MSU-Northern vs. Providence, 9 a.m.
Montana Western vs. Rocky Mountain College, 11 a.m.
Montana Tech vs. Carroll College, 1 p.m.
MSU-Northern vs. Rocky Mountain College, 4 p.m.
Montana Western vs. Carroll College, 6 p.m.

Cross country

Frontier Conference teams from across Montana kicked off their cross country seasons last week, competing in the Providence Open in Great Falls on Thursday. The Carroll College men and women swept the team titles, with five runners earning top-10 finishes in each race.

In the men’s 8K, sophomore Zack Gacnik placed fifth with a time of 25 minutes, 13.10 seconds to lead the Fighting Saints. He was followed by teammates Zach Rector (sixth, 25:35.70) , Connor O’Hara (seventh, 25:36.70), Brycen Gardner (eighth, 25:47.80) and James Normandeau (10th, 26:16.00). Montana Tech senior Edwin Kipainoi took individual medalist honors, crossing the finish line in 24:45.50.

In the women’s 6K, Carroll freshman Isabelle Ruff placed second overall with a time of 23:10.40. Anna Terry (sixth,23:49.60), Renae Parker (seventh,23:50.20) Hannah Sempf (ninth, 24:02.00) and Erika Arthur (10th, 24:06.50) also recorded top-10 finishes for the Saints. Carlin Manning, a junior from Montana Tech, won the women’s race in 22:40.40.

Up next:

All six Montana Frontier Conference schools will next compete at the University of Montana Invitational in Missoula on Friday.


The Carroll, Northern, Providence, Rocky and Tech golf teams will compete in the Montana Tech Invitational at the Butte Country Club on Monday and Tuesday.


After rallying for a 26-23 win over St. Thomas, Carroll College has cracked the top 10 of the NAIA coaches’ Top 25. The Fighting Saints climbed from No. 15 to No. 10 in the latest rankings, which were released Monday. College of Idaho, up to eighth, and Montana Tech, which held steady at 16th, are also ranked for the Frontier Conference.

Northwestern (Iowa) maintained its No. 1 ranking and received all 18 first-place votes. Grand View (Iowa), Morningside (Iowa), Keiser (Fla.) and Indiana Wesleyan round out the top five.

Rocky Mountain College, Montana Western and Arizona Christian are among other teams to receive votes. View the complete poll.

Carroll's Tug Smith was named the Frontier Conference’s defensive player of the week. The redshirt senior safety recorded an interception and team-high 11 total tackles, including one for loss, in the Fighting Saints' win over St. Thomas.

Montana Tech punter Andrew Almos was named the Frontier’s special teams player of the week. He had five punts averaging 46.4 yards with a long of 66 and two inside the 20. In the second half, Almos completed a 31-yard pass on a fake punt that set up a go-ahead touchdown for the Orediggers in their 37-29 win over NCAA Division II Central Washington.

College of Idaho quarterback Andy Peters was named the offensive player of the week after passing for a career-high 335 yards and two touchdowns in the Yotes’ dramatic win over Montana Western. He also ran for 103 yards on 11 carries.

View updated Frontier Conference football standings.

Last week:

Arizona Christian 49, Fort Lewis 25
No. 15 Carroll College 26, No. 14 St. Thomas 23
No. 12 College of Idaho 37, Montana Western 35
Montana Tech 37, Central Washington 29
Whitworth 42, Eastern Oregon 28

Up next:

Carroll College at Rocky Mountain College, 1 p.m. Saturday
Eastern Oregon at Montana Tech, 1 p.m. Saturday
Lewis and Clark College (Ore.) at Montana Western, 1 p.m. Saturday
Willamette at Southern Oregon, 5 p.m. Saturday
MSU-Northern at Arizona Christian, 7 p.m. Saturday

SOCCER (Cascade Collegiate Conference)

The Providence and Rocky Mountain College men's soccer teams each defeated Jamestown last week, the Argos earning a 1-0 win on Friday and the Battlin' Bears winning 3-2 on Saturday.

In Rocky's win, Angel Mange, a sophomore midfielder from Las Vegas, scored his third goal of the season just 4 minutes into the match. He later found teammate Tor Swann on a beautiful through ball that led to the game-tying goal before Oliver Fields netted the game winner moments later. Mange was named the Cascade Collegiate Conference men’s soccer offensive player of the week on Monday.

The Carroll College women, meanwhile, shut out Providence and Black Hills State in matches last week before drawing with MSU Billings on Saturday.

Last week:


Providence 1, Jamestown 0 (Sept. 8)
Rocky Mountain College 3, Jamestown 2 (Sept. 9)


Carroll College 3, Providence 0 (Sept. 4)
Carroll College 1, Black Hills State 0 (Sept. 7)
Carroll College 2, MSU Billings 2 (Sept. 9)

Up next:


Providence at Rocky Mountain College, 1 p.m. Friday
Carroll College at Walla Walla, 3 p.m. Friday
Carroll College at Rocky Mountain College, 1 p.m. Sunday
Providence at Walla Walla, 1 p.m. Sunday


Providence at Rocky Mountain College, 3:30 p.m. Friday
Carroll College at Rocky Mountain College, 3:30 p.m. Sunday