Volleyball team sees Division I spring action

Lauren Lee

The NMU Wildcats will hit the road to face Division I teams in spring play this weekend at the campus of Eastern Michigan University Saturday, March 28 at Convocation Center in Ypsilanti, Mich.

The women faced rival Michigan Tech University last weekend in the second week of spring action Saturday, March 21, at the SDC Gym in Houghton.

Sophomore middle hitter Anna Aycock said the loss against Tech was a learning experience.

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“There was a high level of competition in a battle between us and Tech, but unfortunately we obviously ended up losing in the game,” Aycock said. “I think in the fall season we will definitely come fully prepared and will not take them lightly. Although we did play well as a team, we can do better.”

The ’Cats will get a second chance at the Huskies later in spring play when they host Tech and Lake Superior State University Saturday, April 11, at Vandament Arena. This weekend, NMU will square off against teams such as Bowling Green State University, Eastern Michigan University, Madonna College and Wayne State University in Ypsilanti.

NMU head coach Dominic Yoder said spring season gives the team time to change up techniques.

“We’re looking at trying to make some adjustments on our team defense as well as refine our serve-receive,” Yoder said. “We need to be a little more consistent, but I think that we’re going in the right direction with our young players getting them as much experience as possible.”

Spring play is also the only time the ’Cats get to face Division I teams. This will be the third competition during the 45-day spring training for NMU. Last season, the Wildcats finished third in the GLIAC North Division with a 14-14 overall record, and 14-4 in conference play.

Yoder said spring games still have importance, even though they don’t count toward the standings.

“Obviously just getting ready to prepare for our third week of competition there’s a lot of things going into spring training,” Yoder said.

“We did a lot of training in January and February and we’re just looking at trying to put that together into our team play against outside opponents. It doesn’t count for anything, any outside opponents or championship. It’s just an opportunity for us to compete against outside competition.”

The team currently has no seniors leaving this offseason, but has four juniors in setters Stacy Kalsbeek, Lisa Studnicka and Alex Berger as well as defensive specialist Lindsey Keough. Sophomore libero Megan Dahl said the team looks forward to their upcoming competition.

“I think our past weekend at Tech we played very well, they are a good competitive team along with us,” Dahl said. “Moving on to play Division I schools brings up our confidence because we are a strong Division II. Going into this just gives us more energy and will show our team chemistry.”