NMU volleyball ended its regular season Saturday on a disappointing note, losing to the No. 4 team in the nation Grand Valley 2-3.
The ‘Cats are now 0-2 against the Lakers for the season.
Head coach Dominic Yoder said the loss resulted in the ‘Cats missing one of their season goals of hosting a playoff game, and the Wildcats were forced to travel to Northwood for the first round of GLIAC playoffs .
To add to the already heated match, the Lakers, who were 15-0 in GLIAC play, also endured their first conference loss of the season to Michigan Tech (3-1) the night before, and junior outside hitter Daniela Bezerra suffered an ankle injury prior to the match and was sidelined.
NMU came out hard and won the first set 25-22. But GVSU answered back, winning the next two 31-29 and 25-17. NMU gained momentum, which resulted in a win in the fourth set 25-19. This wasn’t enough to sink the Lakers though, as GVSU rallied in the fifth set 15-12.
“I think we’re disappointed with the outcome of Saturday, but it’s a reality check. We are responsible for that and it is nobody else’s fault,” Yoder said. “We have to go on the road and we’re not totally disappointed about that because, we’re still playing.”
Before falling to GVSU, NMU squared off against the Ferris State Bulldogs on Friday. NMU won in three sets 25-20, 27-25 and 25-17.
Leading the ‘Cats were Bezerra with 10 kills, junior Rachel Green at 27 assists and junior Mandie Meyer, who earned 11 digs.
Yoder said this weekend’s matches proved what he had been telling his team all season – that the top four teams in the GLIAC (GVSU, MTU, SVSU and NMU) are all at the same level, and the one who wins the conference is going to have to earn it.
“We are all in the same boat. We went the distance with Grand Valley without one of our better players, so I think with her (Bezerra) playing it is a different story,” he said.
“But Grand Valley’s motivation might have been different with that type of player on the floor. So you never know.
“But I think the top four teams in the GLIAC are all at that same level.”
Outside hitter Meyer said going the distance with GVSU showed NMU that the Lakers are a team they can win against.
“We played hard all the way through and we played our hearts out. But it didn’t really play out in our favor,” she said. “They (Grand Valley) are just like any other team. Definitely they are a beatable team, and when we do have our regular lineup in, and we see them again, we will be all fired up to play them.”
Before worrying about GVSU, NMU had to first turn its sights on Northwood, who NMU defeated 3-1.
Green, who had 52 assists against GVSU, said it will be business as usual, despite the shorter week of practice.
“Us losing is not really that big of a deal right now. Once it gets into the time when it’s really do or die time, we’re going to pull out on top,” she said. “And I think we have learned from our mistakes and we think we can do this.”
Yoder said this is the time of this season when he wants his entire team thinking with that type of confidence.
“I think every team from here on out- because it’s postseason – is going to bring their best game against us,” Yoder said.
“So we’re going to have to play at our best. And we talked about today, the fact that we are not going to be able to win with one or two players being successful. We need everybody to be up there.”