NMU takes pair of GLIAC wins on road

Rebecca Morstad

The NMU Wildcats won back-to-back GLIAC games on the road this past weekend.
The first was against the Wayne State Warriors at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4 in Detroit, Mich., resulting in a 3-1 Wildcat win. Senior leftside/middle hitter Kalli Herron said the win over Wayne State was huge for NMU.

Senior leftside hitter Lina Lopes (12) tallied 29 kills for NMU over the past three games. Lopes also won the third set against Wayne State with a kill. (Anthony Viola NW)
Senior leftside hitter Lina Lopes (12) tallied 29 kills for NMU over the past three games. Lopes also won the third set against Wayne State with a kill. (Anthony Viola NW)

“We needed that win to stay on top in the GLIAC,” Herron said. “We did a great job pushing through ruts and fighting back from being down a few points. We did a good job finishing and playing as a team, which lead us to a great win.”

The first set began with a 10-2 NMU lead, including five points from freshman libero Meghan Supple’s serve. Freshman leftside/middle hitter Bridget Bussell ended the first set with a kill for the ’Cats, taking the win 25-18.

In set two, the score tied nine different times. The Warriors began to pull away with a 17-14 lead. They never let the Wildcats come within more than two, and took the set 25-20 off a kill by Essence Jackson-Jones. Wildcat freshman libero Megan Dahl opened set number three by serving to a lead of 5-1. The Warriors tied the score four times before the Wildcats could finally pull away with senior middle hitter Sarah Hamilton serving. Senior leftside hitter Lina Lopes took the set 25-20 with a kill for NMU, which gave the Wildcats a 2-1 lead for the match.

The fourth set opened with a 4-0 Warrior lead. The Wildcats lagged behind until they scored six straight on Herron’s serving to tie the game at 19. Back-to-back service aces from Lopes won the game 25-23 for NMU.

The Wildcats were led offensively by Herron with 14 kills. Lopes contributed 11 kills and 12 digs. Sophomore defensive specialist and libero, Alex Berger, had 18 digs. Senior setter Kellisha Harley gave the Wildcats 38 assists throughout the evening.The Wildcats continued their road tour at the University of Findlay. The 2 p.m. GLIAC game Saturday, Oct. 5 was played in Croy Gymnasium in Ohio.Herron said the Wildcats really wanted this win.

“After Wayne State, we were very determined to take the game against Findlay to have a 2-0 weekend,” Herron said.
With six lead changes and 11 ties, set one was a defensive battle for the two teams. Lopes saved the Wildcats with a kill when the team was down 25-24. Freshman rightside hitter Alex Larsen and Herron had consecutive kills to win the set for the ’Cats 27-25.

Set two started out in favor of the Oilers, who claimed a 15-8 lead. Supple’s serving brought the Wildcats within four points, down 16-12. NMU tied the set three more times before taking a 22-21 lead. Kills by Hamilton and sophomore leftside hitter Lisa Studnicka closed out the set for NMU, 25-21.

The Wildcat defense in the third set kept Findlay from ever taking the lead. Three attack errors by Findlay and a kill by Larsen closed out Harley’s serving for NMU. On the final serve by Findlay, Herron closed out the set with a kill, taking the set 25-17, and the match, 3-0.

Lopes lead the Wildcats offensively with 10 kills and defensively 14 digs. Berger added 12 digs, and Harley had 38 assists. Herron said the Wildcats worked hard for the victory. “We played with great intensity and heart and fought for each point in the three game set,” Herron said. “Overall it was a very good weekend for us to lead into a big game against Duluth on Tuesday.”

The Wildcats finished their streak on the road at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8 in Romano Gymnasium against Minnesota-Duluth. No. 2-ranked University of Minnesota-Duluth shutout the Wildcats, taking the first two sets, 25-17, and taking the third, 25-12. NMU falls to an overall 12-5 record after the non-confernece loss, remaining 6-1 in the GLIAC.

Larsen led the effort against the Bulldogs with 10 kills, and Lopes added eight. Berger led the team defensively with 12 digs, and Harley tallied 24 assists. Head coach Dominic Yoder said the Wildcats played well during the first two sets. “We just made too many errors versus a very good and consistent team,” Yoder said. “Our team is very capable of playing at that level, and we will continue to work on consistency to prepare them for Friday and Saturday’s matches versus Malone and Walsh University.”

The Wildcats will play at 7 p.m. Friday Oct. 11 against Malone and at 4 p.m. Saturday Oct. 12 against Walsh. Both matches will be home games in Vandament Arena.