Spikers complete season with sweep

Jon Young

The NMU women’s volleyball team concluded the spring season last weekend with wins over the NMU alumni and Lake Superior State University. In the first match of the day against the Wildcat alumni, the ’Cats dropped the first two matches before rallying to win the last three.

Head coach Dominic Yoder said the team earned the comeback because of its will to keep fighting.

“I don’t think they give up,” Yoder said. “That’s one thing that I really like about our team is they’re young, motivated and they just don’t give up.”

Freshman Lina Lopes goes for the kill against two Wildcat alumni during the alumni game. The Wildcats went 11-3, 3-0 GLIAC, during the spring season, including multiple victories against Divison-I teams. // Justin Key/NW

The ’Cats battled back to get 25-14, 25-23 and 15-8 victories after losing the first two matches, both 21-25

The second match of the day came against the Lake Superior State University Lakers. The Wildcats got off to a faster start in the contest, sweeping the Lakers 25-11, 25-20 and 25-17.

Freshman Suzy Solin, who played libero this spring, said the team wanted to finish out the season on a strong note.

“It was a lot of fun,” Solin said. “We just played with a lot of intensity, knowing it was our last spring match this year.”

The Wildcats finished their spring season with an 11-3 record in four tournaments. They beat two Division-I opponents in Eastern Michigan University and UW-Green Bay while going 3-0 against GLIAC opponents Lake State, Michigan Tech and Saginaw Valley.

Yoder said last season’s success coupled with the impressive showing this spring has Northern striving for bigger goals.

“We have high expectations,” Yoder said. “We want to win the conference. We want to win the region and go to the elite eight. It’s going to take not just winning our regular season, but really pushing strong at the end or the year plus the postseason.”

The team should feature a similar lineup to the one fans saw last fall. Katie Twardzik was the lone graduating senior on the young ’Cats squad. Northern will also have two new additions to the team with the signing of Kaitlyn Hoffman, a setter and Kaprice Seever, a middle hitter. Yoder said the spring season has been a good indicator of the depth on his squad, something that will be helpful for the upcoming season.

“We’ve have some pretty good depth,” Yoder said. “We can easily go three players deep at every position, they can go out and succeed and be successful. So if we have injuries, that’s going to really help us out. The spring was really a key for us to create some depth in our positions.”

More athletes means more competition among the players, especially at the libero, where Solin has filled in this spring. Solin first played the position last year in practice against the ’Cats starting lineup and is now competing for the starting roll. Yoder said he’s impressed with Solin’s willingness to learn, but the position is still up for grabs.

“She is like a sponge right now; she just accepts all the information we give her,” Yoder said. “We have a couple of different libero options in the fall. We’ll let them battle it out, and the best one will win.”

The Wildcats will be back in action this fall as they kick off their 2011-2012 campaign, looking to reach the NCAA tournament for the fourth year in a row.