Spikers ready to defend GLIAC conference title

Rebecca Morstad

The volleyball team went 1-2 for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and the Great Lakes Valley Conference Crossover tournament this past weekend.  The Wildcats’ first opponent of the tournament was the University of Southern Indiana at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25 in the Great Lakes Center in Aurora Illinois. USI took the match 3-0. volleyball

USI took set one 25-20. Set two was stolen by the Eagles when they scored four consecutive points halfway through the set to take a six point lead over the Wildcats. The Eagles continued this play, scoring nine of the last 14 points to take the set 25-16.

In set three, the Eagles closed out the match 25-19.Senior leftside hitter Kallie Herron led the NMU effort with 14 of the 37 team kills. Lopes added nine.

Setting up the Wildcat offense with 22 ass

ists was senior setter Kellisha Harley, who added eight digs.The Wildcats continued the tournament at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 26 against Missouri S&T. NMU captured the match with a 3-0 shutout.Senior middle hitter Sarah Hamilton said the game was crucial.

“This past weekend was tough competition,” Hamilton said. “The game against Missouri S&T was especially crucial for us to win. They had previously beaten us in Florida in the beginning of the season. Beating them in three sets at this tournament was a great accomplishment for us.”

NMU opened each set of the match against S&T with the lead. The ’Cats tallied nine services aces and finished with 46 kills and a .290 attack percentage.Harley and sophomore libero and defensive specialist Alex Berger led the team defensively with 11 digs each. Harley also set up the offense with 39 assists.

Head coach Dominic Yoder said the Wildcats played very well against Missouri S&T, and Harley stood out in leading the team to victory.“Serving and blocking were outstanding,” Yoder said. “Kellisha made many good reads and sets to create scoring opportunities for our team.”NMU finished out the tournament in a match against Truman State with Truman earning a 3-2 match victory.

The Wildcats claimed the first set 25-18, but fell in the second, 25-20, and third, 25-17. NMU came back to win the fourth set, 25-17, but the Bulldogs took the fifth set, 15-6 to win the match. NMU tallied 66 kills and a .247 attack percentage. Herron led this effort with 19 of the kills, while Lopes added 17. On the defensive side, Berger finished with 17 digs. Harley set up the team offensively with 50 assists throughout the match.

Yoder said the Wildcats played their hearts out against Truman.“We served and blocked well in sets one and four,” Yoder said. “We just ran into a very aggressive serving team in Truman that was able to take us out of our game plan.” The Wildcats are now 17-7 overall, but remain 10-1 and in a three way tie for the lead in the GLIAC.

The Wildcats play both teams they are tied with for first in the conference, including Grand Valley State and Ferris State.

NMU returns home next weekend to play Grand Valley at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1 in  Vandament Arena. The team returns to the home arena against Ferris at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2 for the team’s Senior Day.

NMU will finish the streak of home games when they host Michigan Technological University at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5.