The NMU volleyball team took two of three games last weekend in the second annual GLIAC – Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) Crossover Volleyball Tournament. Overall, the GLIAC defeated the GLVC, winning 24 of the 45 weekend games. Up next, the ‘Cats will return home to play two important conference games.
On Oct. 16, the Wildcats (14-8 overall, 8-3 GLIAC) were only able to take the third set from the University of Indianapolis Greyhounds (26-1 overall, 7-1 GLVC), with set scores of 21-25, 17-25, 25-23, and 12-25. Senior Amy Andersen-Goldsworthy led the ‘Cats in kills with 13, followed by sophomore Emma Wolfe with 12.
NMU head coach Dominic Yoder said the Greyhounds were a formidable opponent that played a defense the ‘Cats were unfamiliar with.
“Almost all of the teams we’ve seen this year so far play a perimeter style defense,” he said. “Indianapolis plays a true rotational defense, and there aren’t too many teams in the country that play that type of defense. We’re going to have to get our practice squad to run at that speed of offense.”
That same day, the ‘Cats were victorious against the Pumas of St. Joseph’s College in three sets with scores of 25-15, 25-14 and 25-18. Senior captain Mandie Meyer led in kills with 11.
On Oct. 17, the ‘Cats handily defeated the Drury University Panthers in three sets with scores of 25-20, 25-11, and 25-15. Andersen-Goldsworthy led in kills with 12.
Yoder said the Wildcats learned from their experiences against Indianapolis and adapted accordingly.
“Indianapolis is one of those teams that really forces other teams to not play well, and they did a very good job of doing that against us,” he said. “I think that we did the same thing against Drury and St. Joseph’s.”
The ‘Cats were anchored offensively throughout the tournament by sophomore setter Mandie Ogden, who accounted for 99 of the team’s 126 assists on the weekend.
Ogden had some playing time as a freshman due to an injury-plagued setter last year, so being a younger player no longer fazes her.
“I don’t feel that young anymore; it’s a huge difference from last year. The knowledge I have for the game has increased and the players that we have, you know, we were all together last year, so there’s very good team chemistry,” she said.
With tournament play over until the postseason, the ‘Cats will play at home Oct. 23 against the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals (15-7 overall, 8-3 GLIAC). Four teams are currently 8-3 in the GLIAC North Division so now is the time to capitalize on wins. Yoder said this weekend is a big deal because NMU, Saginaw, Grand Valley, and Ferris State are all vying for first in the division.
“On Friday, Grand Valley and Ferris will be playing as well, so it’s going to be down to two teams. There will be two teams at No. 1 and two teams at No. 2 [after those games] so this weekend is going to tell a huge story for our conference,” Yoder said.
Yoder said to defeat Saginaw, the Wildcats will have to focus on the things they do well: serving and serve reception.
“Saginaw Valley is a traditional team, it’s not something we haven’t seen before so we should be able to do a pretty good job against them,” he said.
On Oct. 24, the Wildcats will play the Lake Superior State University Lakers (3-19 overall, 2-9 GLIAC).
NMU won the last match-up between the two teams in four sets.