Volleyball takes two from GLVC

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The Northern volleyball team went on the road for the GLIAC-Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) crossover tournament last weekend, winning two of their three games.

On Friday, NMU won two matches, against Northern Kentucky, 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-23), and the University of Indianapolis, 3-2 (25-22, 25-17, 22-25, 21-25, 15-13).

On Saturday the ‘Cats fell short to Southern Indiana, losing 2-3 (25-15, 25-19, 24-26, 15-25, 12-15).

Head coach Dominic Yoder applauded the play of his team on Friday, and said on Saturday, it was the little mistakes that made the difference, as his team dropped a 2-0 lead.

“We came out competitive, but we were just out of gas (Saturday), and mentally we were just not there in set three,” he said. “We really didn’t get the job done, and that is what really lost it for us.”

Friday night highlights

For the two wins, the Wildcats beat No. 21 Northern Kentucky and No. 24 University of Indianapolis, with only 15 minutes of rest in between.

In the matches, junior Daniela Bezerra lead the way with 32 total kills, senior Caryn VanBeckum added 29 and freshman Emma Wolfe had 20.

Madeline Ogden helped with 81 assists and Cassie Osiecki earned 22 digs.

Senior Captain Breanne Zaremba said Friday’s play was how the team needed to play all season, especially when their goal is to when the GLIAC tournament, and then work toward Regionals and Nationals.

“Friday night was amazing. We came out and we played the best volleyball I’ve ever seen us play this year,” she said. “Just the intensity on the court, the enthusiasm, the pride that we showed, it was all just amazing and (durning) each point it was there.”

Coach Yoder said the matches were important wins, but against Northern Kentucky, the Wildcats won on a service error, and were fortunate to sneak away with the win.

“It was lucky for us, but sometimes, you know, you have to be lucky to win,” he said.

Comeback screaming

The ‘Cats luck would not continue Saturday, when they fell to the Screaming Eagles of Southern Indiana. The ‘Cats went into the match on a 9-1 run and were looking toward a 3-0 victory, but the Eagles came back and won three consecutive sets. This marked the end of NMU’s seven-match winning streak.

“We could have won some matches this weekend in three (sets) and it took us five. I think we’re going to have to work really strongly to finish games, and try and be more consistent at doing that,” Bezerra said.

Statistically for the ‘Cats, Bezerra, VanBeckum and Mandie Meyer each had 16 kills, while Wolfe dropped in 11. NMU had a better hitting percentage then the Eagles with .218, but it was the Eagles that walked away victorious, Yoder said.

“I think the biggest thing is basically staying focused from start to finish,” he said. “You have to remember your failures to be successful in the future.”

After the tournament the ‘Cats are ranked two spots out of the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 poll, having received 23 total points for honorable mention.

The top eight teams in the region earn a bid to the national tournament, and the first chance NMU has to improve that ranking is the upcoming weekend.

NMU will head on the road to face GLIAC foes No. 6 Lake State on Friday and No. 4 Saginaw Valley State on Saturday.

NMU beat LSSU in three straight sets at home earlier this season, but fell 3-0 to SVSU the same weekend. The ‘Cats are hoping to stay at No. 3 in the GLIAC, but a loss to either LSSU (2-9 GLIAC, 6-13) or SVSU (7-4 GLIAC, 17-5) could alter that.

Right now, though, NMU is focusing on its past in hopes of improving its future. Zaremba said she and the team have been working to fine tune themselves, so little mistakes don’t lead to big failures.

“We went back to each point where we thought it was the turning point for every match, and point by point we figured out what went wrong, and how we are going to fix that,” she said. “It just comes down to the little technical things, and then it makes a big difference on the big picture of the thing.”