The NMU volleyball team split the final two regular season matches last week and was victorious in the first round of the GLIAC Volleyball Tournament on Nov. 11. The second and third rounds will commence this weekend.
On Nov. 6, the Wildcats (19-10 overall, 12-5 GLIAC) were victorious against the Grand Valley State University Lakers (16-12 overall, 11-6 GLIAC) in four sets with set scores of 26-24, 25-21, 21-25, and 25-17. Senior captain Mandie Meyer led the team with 17 kills followed by Sami Vierk with 13. Senior Katt Garvick had four serve aces and 11 kills.
The ‘Cats let the final regular season game on Nov. 7 slip away to Ferris State (18-11 overall, 10-6 GLIAC) with scores of 25-20, 25-22, 28-30, and 25-17. Meyer led the team with 14 kills, followed by Vierk with 12.
Head coach Dominic Yoder said the ‘Cats could have been victorious against Ferris, but needed to come out with more intensity. The ‘Cats had a combined total of 15 service errors which Yoder also believed contributed to the loss.
“Ferris just came out aggressively and we just didn’t respond with our style of volleyball,” he said.
In the first game of the GLIAC tournament, NMU beat Grand Valley State in set scores of 25-22, 25-21 and 25-18.
“It puts us back on track,” Yoder said. “We’re back in position to win the conference title now and that’s what we set out for.”
In regards to the regular season, Yoder said the team was good but had the potential to be great.
“We accomplished a lot, but we lost a couple of opportunities throughout the course of the season to reach our goals which were to win the North Division and put ourselves in a situation to win the conference championship,” Yoder said. “We still have an opportunity to win the conference tournament, it’s just that we had other opportunities and lost them during the course of the season.”
Seniors Meyer and Garvick have completed their four seasons with the Wildcats and said they are sad to go.
“All the little things add up to make everything the way it is. Having the girls as a family is a big thing. It’s basically like our second family,” Garvick said.
Garvick had some words of advice for her teammates which have a resounding echo for all in the college experience.
“Just enjoy it while you can, I mean, I’ve been playing volleyball for 10 years now and it’s going to be over in a month, so just embrace it one-hundred percent and take time to appreciate it,” Garvick said.
Meyer said being a senior was difficult because of the high expectations, but the leadership experience was worth it.
“It’s kind of cool to be looked up to. You kind of get thrown in that position as a senior but to enforce it and really take charge is something I think a lot of our seniors have done,” she said.
Meyer also believes some of the core values she learned and refined in volleyball will help her in the professional world.
“Problem solving, teaching other people, just being a leader helps in everyday life. We’re demanded of a lot too, school, travel, playing, just being able to manage the mental and emotional stress really helps build character,” she said.
Semifinal and final matches will be hosted by the highest seed after the quarterfinals on Saturday, Nov. 14 and Sunday, Nov. 15.uc0u711 Teams will be re-seeded after quarterfinal matches.
Editor’s note: Drew Kochanny assisted in reporting of this article.