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Caden Sierra
Caden Sierra
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Hey. My name is Caden and I'm from the Chicagoland area.  I'm currently going into my 3rd year at NMU.  I'm a multimedia production major with a double minor in journalism and criminal justice. For as...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Volleyball tourney takes toll on ’Cats

The NMU volleyball team split its games last weekend during the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UW-GB) Tournament but is still growing stronger every day.

NMU head coach Dominic Yoder said the team showed their ability to perform well during certain points of the tournament, but also showed their inexperience.

“We showed our inability sometimes to be consistent emotionally and in being aggressive from start to finish,” Yoder said. “At the beginning, we kind of felt like we were at the zoo staring at the aggressive animal instead of being the aggressive animal.”

The Wildcats (3-3) faced an onslaught of four games on March 27 that tested their mettle on the court. Each game was played to the best of three sets. The ’Cats were victorious 2-1 against the first of two UW-GB Alumni teams, with set scores of 19-25, 25-20 and 15-10.

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Freshman right side player Daniela Branco said she felt the team’s conditioning was largely sufficient, but they still got fatigued.

“We are not used to playing that much volleyball in a day. It was something new and tiring for almost all of us,” Branco said.

Two hours after the beginning of the tournament, the ’Cats earned a 2-1  victory in their game against the second UW-GB Alumni team with scores of 25-18, 19-25 and 15-9.

The Wildcats were defeated 1-2 against University of Minnesota-Duluth with scores of 11-25, 25-21 and 11-15. Yoder said Duluth set the tone for the kind of teams NMU will be playing in the fall.

“We played against a really good Duluth team that showed us how we need to play to be a quality team. Our team really stepped it up in the second set against them but it took a little while for us to get going,” Yoder said.

In the final game of the tournament, the ’Cats were defeated 2-0 by UW-GB, 12-25 and 23-25. Yoder said the team was fine physically for the fourth game, but were mentally drained.

“That’s where I think we showed our youth, in our inability to bounce back from an intense match and really get after the next match,” he said.

The statistics for the tournament were conglomerated. Multiple ’Cats got more than 20 digs, with sophomore libero Becca Feuerherd leading the way (44), followed by freshman defensive specialist Julie Francek (29), Branco (24) and freshman setter Abby Lovell (21).

Offensively, Wolfe earned 31 kills; Branco had 27. Two of the Wildcats, freshman middle hitter Sami Vierk and freshman left side Andree Ring, both earned 13 kills as well. Feuerherd and Wolfe had four aces, while Branco had three.

On the season, Feuerherd leads with 80 digs and has 4.21 digs per set. Feuerherd and Wolfe share the team-high seven aces, followed by Branco with six.

The team is very close emotionally, Francek said, but there is still room for improvement.

“We could defiantly work on our communication on the court, but our team’s chemistry is coming together,” Francek said.

Yoder said he believes the team’s camaraderie is solid, but that the team is trying to develop a different personality.

“Versus being really nice, you know, they can do that off the floor, but we’re trying to develop and encourage more of an aggressive, attacking type team on the floor,” he said.

Branco agreed with Yoder’s analysis and said the team is beginning to find their chemistry and that doing so is one of the more difficult hurdles to overcome in the game.

“We have been working on (chemistry) lately with the coaching staff, and I feel like we are on the right track,” Branco said. She also said everyone is pulling together to make the team better.

Yoder said each player needs to have pride in accountability, whether by making sure someone else is doing their job or rising to the occasion on the individual level. He also said the spring has been a learning experience for both the players and the coaching staff.

“We’ve gone back to basics; we’ve really worked on the team system, the individual discipline within the system and just how our coaching staff interacts with our players,” he said.

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