Spikers prepare in hopes of conference championship

Rebecca Morstad

The NMU volleyball team went 1-1 this past weekend against two GLIAC opponents. The ’Cats opened with a loss to Grand Valley at 7 p.m., Friday Nov. 1 in Vandament Arena.

GVSU swept NMU 3-0. The first set ended 25-23. The second and third sets went 25-22.Senior middle hitter Sarah Hamilton led the Wildcats with 12 kills. Senior left side hitter Kalli Herron added another nine.

The defense was led by sophomore defensive specialist Alex Berger, who finished the evening with 15 digs. Senior leftside hitter Lina Lopes added 10 digs. Senior setter Kellisha Harley set the Wildcats up with 30 assists.

Grand Valley State is now first in the GLIAC with a conference record of 12-1 (21-3 overall).The weekend continued for the Wildcats at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2 when they hosted Ferris State University.

NMU was able to capture a 3-0 win in their Senior Day match. Head coach Dominic Yoder said the ’Cats played very well.“I think this win will certainly be a turning point in the season,” Yoder said. “It’s an emotional uplift, especially after the loss Friday night.”

NMU captured set one 25-22, set two 27-25 and set three 26-24. Both No. 2-ranked GLIAC teams, NMU and Ferris State, now sit 11-2 in the conference.

Lopes led the Wildcats with 19 kills. The Wildcats tallied 50 kills for a .190 attack percentage. Berger led defensively with 18 digs and Harley set the Wildcats up again with 42 assists.

Herron said the Wildcats were very motivated for this game.

“With it being senior night and parent night, and coming from a loss from GVSU, we were determined to get the win,” Herron said. “Each game was very close, and the third set was a crazy game. We were down by eight points at one time and I could not have asked for a better senior night. We showed how much fight and passion we each have for the game, and no matter what is happening we will fight to the end.”

NMU followed up with a home match at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5 versus Michigan Tech. The ’Cats blew out the Huskies 3-0 to win the first set 25-15, the second 25-17, and the third 25-14.

Herron led with 10 kills. Berger led defensively with 14 digs and Harley set up the ’Cats with 29 assists and seven digs.The ’Cats travel next weekend for two matches. The first is at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8 at Hillsdale College.

Hillsdale is 9-4 in the GLIAC and 14-10 overall. The team is led by sophomore Emily Wolfert who tallied 231 kills this season and averaged 2.96 kills per set. Senior Caitlin Kopmeyer leads the Chargers defensively with 293 season digs, an average of 3.57 per set.

NMU continues their weekend at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9 at Northwood. The Timberwolves are 10-3 in the conference while 17-7 overall.The Timberwolves are led this season by senior Julia Pakhomenko, who totaled 440 season kills with a set average of 4.89 kills. Senior Elizabeth Barker leads defensively with 390 digs.

Senior Jordan Dunn has set up the Timberwolves with 955 assists and an average of more than 10 assists per set.

The Wildcats are led this season by Lopes with 305 season kills, Herron with 281 kills and Hamilton with 245 kills. Harley tallies 934 assists, averaging 10.15 assists per set.

Berger leads the Wildcats defensively, with 312 digs and an average 3.59 digs per set. Lopes adds 264 season digs. Harley has contributed another 187 digs.Yoder said next weekend will be another couple of battles.

“Hillsdale and Northwood are both in the chase for the north division,” Yoder said. “Playing them both at their homes will be the next big challenge for our team’s quest for a division and conference championship.”