Volleyball splits weekend on the road

Volleyball+splits+weekend+on+the+road

Ryan Spitza

The NMU Volleyball team continued GLIAC play with a split weekend on last weekend’s road trip, defeating Northwood in three sets on Friday and falling to No. 7-ranked Ferris State in three sets on Saturday.

The Wildcats now sit in third place in the conference standings, right behind Wayne State and Ferris State who are tied for first with a perfect 5-0 record in league play. The Wildcats are now 4-1 in conference play and 10-3 overall.

In the Friday game the first set was close throughout. With the two teams tied at 24 points, the Wildcats took the lead on a kill from Kayla Chosa. Northwood responded with a kill from Sydney Greulich to tie the set once again. The Wildcats earned the next point on a kill from Leticia Antunes and then won the set 27-25 on an attack error.

The Wildcats cruised through set two, jumping out to an 8-2 lead early on and the Timberwolves never saw the lead as the Wildcats won set two 25-18. In the third set, the Wildcats raced out to a commanding 23-9 lead. Northwood then scored the next nine points to pull within five. A Timberwolves service error ended the nine point run and the ‘Cats took the set 25-21.

NMU head coach Mike Lozier said his team rebounded after a slow start on Friday.

“I thought we played well and the nice thing was we played from beginning to end,” he said. “We started slow and that’s kind of been our trend the last few matches, but to be able to come back after a slow start and take care of business in three sets was nice to see.”

In Saturday’s contest, the Wildcats hung tight with the Bulldogs in all three sets, falling just short 19-25, 19-25 and 25-27.

“Ferris has a little bit of a tough environment and huge home court advantage,” Lozier said. “We didn’t play poorly, we hung in there but the difference was that they just played cleaner for longer.”

Despite the loss, history was made for one Wildcat setter. Senior Jami Hogeboom recorded 31 assists in the match, and surpassed the 3,000 assists mark, only the fifth player in Wildcat history to do so. The team record for career assists is held by Liu Jun who played for the Wildcats from 1993-96 and recorded 4,531 assists.

Hogeboom said the feat is humbling and credited her teammates along the way as well.

“It’s really exciting and I was definitely happy to see that,” she said. “I’ve just been super grateful to play with some incredible athletes. I couldn’t set without a back row and I couldn’t get assists without a front row so they’ve been killing it as well and have gotten me there.”

The Wildcats will continue GLIAC play this weekend with another road trip, this time facing Wayne State (9-4, 5-0 GLIAC) on Friday and Grand Valley State (6-7, 3-2 GLIAC) on Saturday.

Lozier is looking forward to the road trip as he’ll come across some familiar faces having coached at Wayne State for the past three seasons and Grand Valley State before that.

“I have great relationships at Wayne State University,” he said. “I get to see my former players who I had a very good relationship with, the guy I coached underneath for three years (Tim Koth) and they’re also playing well. You want to play good teams and it’s an opportunity to play a team that’s undefeated in conference play. I think we’re going to be their first true test and I have every expectation that we’ll walk into that gym and play great and give them a run for their money.

“Grand Valley can be hot and cold,” Lozier added. “If you catch them on a day when they’re cold, they struggle. If you catch them when they’re hot, they’re as good as anybody so you have to approach the matches as if they’re ready to go and they’re
going to play well.”