With the regular season of the NMU’s women’s volleyball team about to begin, the team honed their skills against each other in the annual Green and Gold match. It was a close match as both teams went head-to-head until the final round.
The Green team swept the Gold in three sets, winning 25-19, 25-17 and 25-14. Freshman hitter Ana Lopes led the Green team with eight kills, and also earned four serve aces. Sophomore middle Sami Vierk followed closely with seven kills.
Freshmen hitters Kalli Herron and Ellen Lemos led the Gold team with seven kills each, followed by sophomore hitter Andree Ring with six.
Head coach Dominic Yoder said he had positive feelings about the game.
“The team has been very anxious lately to get the season started,” Yoder said. It’s warm-up games like these that have everyone involved and have everyone experiencing the real deal. The things that we were very glad to see were that they went out there and made it competitive.”
Vierk, one of the team captains, said the ’Cats felt great going into the game because of their preparedness.
“This game gave us a great chance to show off some new moves, get the entire team involved, and just show everyone we are on top of our game,” Vierk said.
The ’Cats played hard and stayed aggressive, senior Katie Twardzik said, and it was a great point of reference for the team.
“We struggled a little bit in the last set, but we all played hard and focused on consistency,” Twardzik said. “In the end, we all had a lot of fun.”
With the Green and Gold match behind them, the Wildcats are looking toward their first match against Wisconsin-Parkside. The Wildcats are focusing both on the physical and mental aspects of the game, Yoder said.
“The most important thing I want to see happen is first contact,” he said. “We need to get them right where we want them and control the ball on serving and passing serve.”
Yoder said part of the mental game is gaining confidence on the court.
“I also want us to have confident mindsets so we can go out there and get the desired effects that we know we are capable of getting,” he said.
The Wildcats had a very competitive game the last time they took on UW-Parkside, winning in the fourth set with scores of 22-25, 25-14, 26-24 and 25-23. Vierk said the team is anticipating a challenging opponent once again this year.
“We need to just stay focused on individuals’ skills and remember everything we practiced for,” Vierk said. “I don’t think we have anything to be concerned about.”
Twardzik said the team has trained hard and is ready for the season to begin.
“We’ve watched film of the team in the past and we know what we need to focus on and what we need to do in order to win,” Twardzik said. “There is no doubt in my mind we are going to make this a very competitive match and we won’t settle for anything less than victory.”
The ’Cats will begin the Wildcat Open against UW-Parkside on Thursday, Sept. 2, at 7 p.m. in the Vandament Arena. The Wildcats will then take on Winona State on Friday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m.
In games three and four of the Wildcat Open, the team will face off against Minnesota-Crookston at 12:30 p.m. and American International at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 4.