NMU volleyball battles with highly ranked competition, drops three of four

By Taylor Syring

The Wildcats traveled to St. Paul, Minn. Sept.2 to kick off the season at the Concordia Tournament. They faced two days of hard competition, including the top ranked team in the division, Concordia-St. Paul.

NMU played a total of four teams this past weekend. The lady Wildcats beat Pittsburg State (3-0) and lost to Southwest Minnesota State (0-3), Central Missouri (1-3), and Concordia – St. Paul (0-3).

Head coach Dominic Yoder expected the team to challenge themselves with the top competition in the nation.
“We saw that we were able to compete with all of the teams. We were very close in all of the sets,” Yoder said. “We were actually able to take a set off Central Missouri; which is the 2nd ranked team in the nation.”

Junior setter Abby Lovell said the team went in expecting to work hard and scope out this years competition.
“We were there for the competition and we did pretty well,” Lovell said. “We have a lot to get better at, but still I’m pretty happy with how we did.”

Daily practices are a routine, Lovell said, but the team stepped it up in the competition.

Sophomore left side Lina Lopes said the team had good chemistry and did well, but could see what they need to work on.

“We started with a strong morale, but at times we were missing that ‘extra thing’ to get back up,” Lopes said. “We really have to work on the mental part of the game. We have to learn to adjust to each opponent.”

The team has been practicing since the beginning of August but specifically worked on their serve-receive skills and blocking leading up to this tournament, said senior left side Emma Wolfe.

“Now our team needs to work on playing well on a consistent level,” Wolfe said “but we did get more intense when we were playing better competition.”

Yoder said the team has a very long and specific list of goals for the season said coach Yoder.

“It’s about focusing on our conference and our division and winning the matches in our division,” Yoder said. “This will help us to build towards our ultimate goal which is to compete at the regional and national level.”
Looking forward to the remainder of the season, the volleyball team has many goals and expectations they hope to achieve. One of the goals is to rank No. 1 in their conference, said Wolfe.

“Were expecting to do really well in conference and come out on top,” Wolfe said. “We know we can do it.”

Cheer on the Wildcats when they play their next game at 7 p.m. Sept. 9 at the Vandament Arena against Saginaw Valley State. The ’Cats will also be competing at 4 p.m. Sept. 10 against Ferris State and 2 p.m. Sept. 11 against Grand Valley State.