V-ball second in GLIAC

V-ball+second+in+GLIAC

Trevor Drew

Over the weekend on the road, Northern’s Volleyball team claimed a 3-1 victory over the Wayne State University Warriors but couldn’t carry the momentum onto their second match against the Grand Valley State University Lakers who beat the Wildcats 3-1.

After this week’s performance, The Wildcats stand with a 5-2 conference record and are ranked second in the GLIAC in a three-way tie with their opponents from the past weekend, Wayne State and Grand Valley.

The Warriors jumped out early and took the first set of the match 25-20 but the Wildcats came back hard, claiming the next three matches.

As a former Wayne State assistant coach, first-year NMU head coach Mike Lozier said it was rewarding to best his former program, but the real achievement is beating a team that was undefeated in conference at their home court.

“It’s exactly what you need to in order to put your mark on a program. And we’ve done that,” Lozier said.

The Wildcats did not achieve the same results against the Lakers, however.

“That was the first match that we lost where I felt like we were the better team on the floor, so that made it kind of frustrating.”

Lozier cited inability to hold on to the lead in the first set and freshman Leticia Antunes coming out in the second set due to an ankle injury as setbacks suffered by the Wildcats.

Antunes is expected to return to the court next weekend, but she is only one of three NMU players currently coping with an injury.

Senior captain Madison Whitehead is coming off an ankle injury and junior Maggie Liebec, who came in for Antunes in the GVSU match, got hurt this week in practice.

“That’s why I’m happy we have depth in our program. Girls can step in and we aren’t really skipping a beat which is important,” Lozier said. “It’s just a matter of us working through those injuries, being smart about our rehab and how we are using each player in practice.”

After five consecutive road games, the team will finally spend the weekend at their home court, Vandament Arena, where they will face the Tiffin University Dragons and the Ashland University Eagles.

Both Tiffin and Ashland have built up a conference record of 4-3 and are tied for third in the GLIAC along with Michigan Tech.

Both teams have been identified as strong opponents by Lozier but the coach has devised strategies to overcome them.

“[Tiffin] likes to run a fast offense so we’re going to be working all week in practice on defending against that kind of offense,” Lozier said. “We are really good at serving. If you serve teams tough, they get out of system and its hard to run their offense.”

Lozier identified setting as Ashland’s main strength and added that the team will work on identifying their prominent setter and shutting that player down.