The NMU women’s volleyball team finished its final road tournament of the spring season last weekend at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The Wildcats finished the day with a 2-2 record, winning the first two matches of the day against St. Scholastica and Winona State before dropping the last two matches against Concordia and Minnesota-Duluth. Head coach Dominic Yoder said the team learned a lot about their ability over the weekend.
“We learned quite a bit about ourselves,” Yoder said. “One of the things we learned is that we could be a good blocking team against a very good opponent. I thought we did a really good job blocking this weekend, averaged a little over three blocks per set, which is double the normal amount that we’ve been producing.”
The ’Cats started the day winning both sets against St. Scholastica, 25-15 and 25-20. Junior Emma Wolfe led the team with 10 kills and sophomore Sami Vierk added five. Freshman Ana Lopes added six digs to pace the defense. The team also had nine blocks in the match, led by Vierk’s three.
The Wildcats next match came against Winona State. NMU won the first match 25-13 and dropped the second 14-25 before closing out the win with a 15-9 decision against the Warriors. Freshman Suzanne Solin led the team 10 digs and Wolfe and Vierk both added eight kills. Yoder said the middle and right side of the floor have impressed him, along with the play of freshman Ellen Lemos and Solin.
“For the most part, our middle and right sides did a good job blocking,” Yoder said. “Ellen Lemos has really come on strong and is doing a great job for us on the right side. Suzie Solin has really stepped into a defensive role for us and is starting to produce for us defensively.”
The Cats suffered the first setback of the day against Concordia, dropping both matches 25-17. Yoder said the team is fine on the offensive side of the ball, but needs to work on defense going forward.
“Offensively we’re still a really good team, defensively we’re struggling,” Yoder said. “Last week was floor defense; this week will be floor defense again. You can’t win without defense.”
The ’Cats final match of the day came against tournament host University of Minnesota-Duluth. The ’Cats beat the Bulldogs at the UW-Green Bay tournament on March 26, but weren’t able to come up with the preseason sweep falling 25-13 and 25-23. Solin said the team needs to work on maintaining the energy throughout the day.
“We started off pretty well, but then it kind of seemed like towards the end of the day we got a little tired,” Solin said. “We need to sustain our strengths even at the end of the day.”
The Wildcats will be at the Vandament Arena this weekend for their only home match of the spring season. Saturday, April 9 at 11 a.m., the ’Cats take on the NMU alumni, before taking on Lake Superior State University at 2 p.m. Lake State and the NMU alumni will play a match at 12:30 p.m.
“It’s going to be a good event,” Yoder said. “Its going to be fun to see them again and for are fans to come out and watch them play.”