Volleyball winning streak hits seven

jessica.wilson and jessica.wilson

Northern Michigan’s volleyball team picked up a 3-0 sweep (31-29, 30-27, 30-27) in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play on Sunday and sent the visiting Northwood Timberwolves home with their fourth consecutive loss.

The Wildcats (13-7 overall, 7-1 GLIAC) now hold down an even more secure second place spot in the GLIAC North Division standings, just behind No. 9 Grand Valley State (17-2, 7-0).

“We’re really trying to get to the top of the conference [by] staying on top of things, connecting with each other and playing together as a team,” said NMU sophomore Katt Garvick.

Northern Michigan hitters Garvick and sophomore Mandie Meyer combined forces against the ‘Wolves to score 30 of the team’s 48 kills. The Wildcat hitters were one of the key factors leading to the success of the match, Meyer said.

“In the third game Caryn (VanBeckum) also stepped in and did an excellent job so I would have to say that all of our hitters contributed,” Meyer said. “We didn’t have too many little glitches and our communication was a lot better.”

Outside hitter Gordona Barac smacked down 19 kills for the Timberwolves (14-6, 2-6), while middle blocker Aleksandra Stoletova plugged in 10 kills and five blocks throughout the match. Forced service errors blossoming from the Wildcat offense, along with the consistent communication between players, contributed to the Timberwolves’ downfall, Northern Michigan head coach Dominic Yoder said.

“[The players] are really starting to communicate when they’re struggling and [they hang] in there from start to finish,” Yoder said. “We didn’t give up a lot of runs, we played consistently and we forced [Northwood] to make errors.”

The victory celebration won’t last long for Northern Michigan, however, as they begin to prepare for the upcoming matches against GLIAC South Division competition.

The ‘Cats will hit the road for the next two weekends, traveling first to Hillsdale, Mich. on Friday, Oct 5. While there, they will try to defend their seven-match winning streak against the No. 15 Hillsdale Chargers (16-4, 7-0), who boast a nine-match streak of their own.

“We’ll look at game film, we’ll talk about some of the things that [Hillsdale] does on the court so we can try and mimic them and we’ll just prepare [ourselves] to understand what [the girls] are going to be looking at,” Yoder said.

The players and staff are looking forward to whatever awaits them during the remainder of the 2007 season. Student Assistant Gabe Giarmo, who served as an assistant under former head coach Jim Moore, has full confidence in Coach Yoder’s coaching style and technique.

“[Yoder] is really dedicated to do his job and to this program,” Giarmo said. “He has a deep sense of wanting to win, but he [always] puts the girls first, and then winning, which really helps a lot [with their confidence].”

The Wildcats have now won 13 of their last 15 matches.

Wildcat fans will patiently await the team’s return at the end of the month, hoping that Northern Michigan will have a conference lead.

“Hillsdale’s 7-0 and number 15 in the nation,” Yoder said. “They’re going to give us a solid match to play; not necessarily the deciding match for the season, but if we go in there and play well, the outcome should come in our favor.”