Volleyball earns trio of wins on road

Jon Young

The NMU women’s volleyball team got their spring season underway last weekend with a strong showing at the Oakland University tournament. The ’Cats held their own against the bigger competition and it showed as they came away with a 3-1 record on the day. Head coach Dominic Yoder said he was impressed with the overall performance from his squad.

“I thought what we did really well offensively, we did better that what we had been doing,” Yoder said. “Our serve reception was pretty rock solid, just our overall motivation as a team was pretty good, we had some players step up.”

The ’Cats first game came against GLIAC opponent Saginaw Valley State University. NMU won the first set, 25-23 and the second set, 25-17 to complete the sweep. The next match came against the Oakland University alumni team. The Wildcats offense proved too much for the Golden Bears as they overpowered them in both sets, 25-12 and 25-14.

NMU’s third game came against a Division-I opponent in Eastern Michigan University. The Wildcats weren’t intimidated about playing against a bigger school; instead they took the challenge head on and came away with a win. They fell in the opening set 25-21, but bounced back to win the second set 25-19. They had a higher total of points which gave them the victory. Junior Emma Wolfe said it was good show that smaller division schools can keep up with larger opponents.

“It’s always big to beat a D-1 school,” Wolfe said. “You know there’s that huge division line and it’s always nice to prove that Division II schools can keep up with Division-I schools.”

Wolfe led the team with seven kills, sophomore Abby Lovell held the defense down with 12 digs. Sophomore Julie Francek also chipped in 10 digs. Yoder said playing the Division-I schools gave his team an extra boost of energy.

“I think it excites them, they want that extra motivation, that extra sense of energy or urgency against a team you’ll probably never see again until that following year,” Yoder said. “So I think they we’re motivated, they we’re excited to do those things.”

The ’Cats final match of the game came against the tournament host Oakland University. NMU dropped both matches to the Golden Grizzles, 25-14 and 25-16. Although Yoder was impressed with his teams overall performance, he still acknowledged the need to get more consistent.

“Consistency with offense, consistency with defense,” Yoder said. “Our blocking needs to be better, our floor defense needs to be better, our serving has to be better and that’s one of the things were going to be working on the next couple days.”

The Wildcats will be on the road again this weekend as they travel to Green Bay to participate in the UW-Green Bay tournament on Saturday, March, 26. NMU will be without Wolfe who suffered a sprained ankle at the Oakland tournament. Yoder said the weekend will be a tough, but good test for his team.

“It’s going to get tougher,” Yoder said.  “We play (Minnesota) Duluth, we play UW-Green Bay, and Michigan Tech.  So they’re going to be really tough matches for us, it’s going to put a lot of pressure on us, especially with one of our best players hurt.”