‘Cats drop two GLIAC road matches

john.becker

The NMU volleyball team was unable to gain a victory during last weekend’s conference play, losing matches to both Grand Valley State University and Ferris State University.

The Wildcats (6-7 overall, 2-3 GLIAC) were able to take the first set from the Grand Valley State Lakers but lost the subsequent sets with scores of 22-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-18.

Senior player Amy Andersen-Goldsworthy led the ‘Cats with 12 kills. Senior captain Mandie Meyer and senior Katt Garvick both had nine kills. Garvick and Andersen-Goldsworthy also had three service aces each.

NMU head coach Dominic Yoder said the ‘Cats had the potential for victory in both of these games but need to stay consistently good in two important areas.

“First contact is always a key to winning volleyball matches and we didn’t control first contact,” Yoder said. “When we did win, we had really good serving and serve reception and those are the two things we’ve been struggling with all year.”

The ‘Cats took the Ferris State Bulldogs to five sets but came up short in the end, losing with set scores of 18-25, 25-21, 25-18, 12-25, 15-6. Meyer led the ‘Cats in kills with 13 and came up second in digs with 12. Senior Cassie Osiecki led the team with 14 digs.

Yoder said the ‘Cats did not come out with intensity whereas the Bulldogs did, resulting in the Wildcat’s defeat in the final set.

“I think the beginning of set serve is important. In set two we didn’t come out strong and we allowed them to really gain a long lead. In set five, we didn’t come very strong and that’s always a crucial point in the game,” he said.

From these two games, Yoder said the ‘Cats realized that they must recognize the significance of underestimating an opponent.

“The team has learned to compete for every single point,” he said. “Even though you beat a team by 13 in one set they’re going to come back with fire, just like we should have in set five.”

Meyer said the ‘Cats efficiency on offense gave them opportunities to score, but the Bulldogs’ offense stayed in system, or in formation, resulting in the defeat.

“For the most part we pass-served well. Our serving was very aggressive which helped us to get the team out of system, but unfortunately they were in system a lot, which helped them,” she said.

According to Meyer, similarities between the teams’ style of play will help the ‘Cats reevaluate their own game plan.

“I think their offense runs a lot of quick stuff, which we work on in practice too. We run quick slide attacks, when the middle runs around off of the one foot, and they used it a lot and it was really effective for them,” she said.

Yoder said the ‘Cats are looking to strengthen themselves one by one, which will strengthen the team as a whole.

“We’re struggling offensively right now. That’s from our individual players not playing to the best of their ability, so we’re trying to help them unlock that potential,” Yoder said.

The Wildcats have two home conference games coming up at the Vandament Arena Sept. 25 at 7 p.m., they will be squaring off against the University of Findlay (3-9 overall, 1-4 GLIAC) and on Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. against Hillsdale College (12-1 overall, 5-0 GLIAC). The Chargers of Hillsdale are ranked 25th in the nation by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).
Yoder said the team is looking forward to playing some aggressive cross-division matches.

“They’re very competitive teams who are going to come out with a lot of energy. They haven’t been to the U.P. for a few years so it’s going to be an experience for them and I think they’re going to be motivated to play really well,” Yoder said.