Wildcats score home tournament victory

Georgette Breen-Naylor

The women’s volleyball team had a busy weekend with four games in two days, and won the Superior Oasis Wildcat Volleyball open, which the Wildcats hosted with Michigan Tech. The ’Cats began at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 13 at the Vandament Arena against Bemidji State. The ’Cats took the match win 3-0.

NMU goes up for the block while competing in the superior Oasis Wildcat Volleyball Open, to win the weekend tournament at the Vandament Arena (Photo: Anthony Viola)
NMU goes up for the block while competing in the superior Oasis Wildcat Volleyball Open, to win the weekend tournament at the Vandament Arena (Photo: Anthony Viola)

In the opening set, the Beavers started ahead when they took the floor, 4-0. The ’Cats made a comeback and finished 25-14 over Bemidji in the first set. NMU did not let Bemidji score more than 14 points in a single game the rest of the match.

The Wildcats took another win, 25-11, in the second game. They finished with a 25-12 victory over the Beavers to take the match in three games.

Senior middle hitter Sarah Hamilton said the team didn’t get to practice for the second game of the day with such short time segments between matches.

“We just did a lot of scouting,” Hamilton said. “ We did a lot of strategic planning of where we’re going to place the ball.”

Hamilton lettered for the first time last season after appearing in all 32 games and 124 sets.

Hamilton also led the team last season in blocks with 91.

The ’Cats were back on the court at 7 p.m. to match up against the Minnesota-Crookston Golden Eagles. There was only a score difference of eight in the first two sets and a score difference of two in the third set.

Neither team was able to take a commanding lead in the first set, as the teams continued scoring back and forth until the ’Cats took four points on sophomore libero Alex Berger’s serve concluding the first set.

Berger said going into the tournament, the ’Cats did not know much about their opponents since there was not enough film to view.

“We took all aspects into play and just went off that,” Berger said. “We worked our tails off.”

The team took the win against the Golden Eagles with a score of 3-0. It was less than 24 hours until the ’Cats were back in action. The Wildcats were up against Quincy and the Hawks took the victory in the first set, 25-22.

Berger said the Hawks were one of their more difficult opponents.

“They put up a really big block and their offense was tough,” Berger said. “They really pushed us.”

Berger lettered last season after she appeared in 18 matches and 66 sets. Berger also tallied 231 digs and led the team in digs and set average at 3.5.

The Wildcats took the next three games over the Hawks to win the match, 3-1.

At 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 the ’Cats played their final game against Lake Superior State to close up the tournament, winning the match 3-0.

NMU took the first set with a score of 25-14. In set two, the ’Cats continued to hold the lead for the first half of the game. LSSU came within two points of NMU before the Wildcats sealed the game, 25-23.

In the third set, the Lakers came out with a 5-1 lead but couldn’t seem to keep the momentum going. Northern Michigan University took the win with an end score of 25-18.

Senior libero Suzanne Solin said the ’Cats have a season ahead of them with plenty of room for improvement, and there is a lot the team can take away from the tournament.

“A lot of good things happened, but there are still things we know we need to work on,” Solin said. “We’ll have to break down video. There is always room for improvement.”

Solin lettered for the second time last season after appearing in 28 matches and 85 sets. Solin also tallied a total of 114 digs on the season. The ’Cats also played the Rangers at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17 at University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

NMU had 186 attacks on Tuesday night, and senior left side hitter Lina Lopes tallied the most overall with 51. Of NMU’s 67 kills, Lopes contributed 20. Berger had 22 of NMU’s 88 digs.

The Wildcats took the lead over the Rangers early on, winning the first set 25-20. The Rangers came back for two victories over NMU.

In the fourth set, the Wildcats won 25-19 and had 17 kills in comparison to UW-Parkside’s four. The fifth set settled the match winner when the Rangers topped the ’Cats 19-17.

The Wildcats are 6-3 on the season, and host Saginaw Valley at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20 in the Vandament Arena.