Volleyball splits homestand

Photo+by+Neil+Flavin%3A+Senior+right-side+hitter+Madison+Whitehead+and+sophomore+middle+blocker+Sarah+Kuehn+attempt+to+block+a+return+from+an+Ashland+player.+The+team+averages+2.88+blocks+per+game+this+season.

Photo by Neil Flavin: Senior right-side hitter Madison Whitehead and sophomore middle blocker Sarah Kuehn attempt to block a return from an Ashland player. The team averages 2.88 blocks per game this season.

Trevor Drew

After a split weekend of home games, the Wildcat Volleyball squad stands tied for second with Michigan Tech and Wayne State University, rocking a conference record of 6-3 and an overall record of 7-3.

The Wildcats fell to the Tiffin University Dragons 3-2 last Friday and bounced back on  Saturday to claim a 3-2 victory over the Ashland University Eagles.

Head coach Mike Lozier said that he was happy that the team was able to comeback from a deficit to force the the fifth and final set against Tiffin but added it was unfortunate that the team could not clinch the win.

Down but not out, the Wildcats took Ashland for another five-set match but this time it was Northern who ended up on the winning side.

“The thing about the GLIAC, it’s great but it can also be tough, is that every team at any moment has the ability to play at a higher level,” Lozier said. “And that’s what we ran into with both of those teams.”

Against Tiffin, The Wildcats dropped the first two sets 25-23 and 26-24 but then, rebounded and captured a 25-16 victory in the third set and 25-17 win for the fourth set to take it to a deciding fifth set.  In the fifth set, the teams battled to a 6-6 tie, but the Dragons would go on a late run, winning the set 15-8 to capture a 3-2 match victory.

NMU dropped the first set 25-21 but rebounded with a 25-23 victory in the second set.  The Wildcats then overpowered the Eagles with a 25-7 victory in the third set.  Ashland responded in the fourth set to win 25-23. In the deciding set, Northern Michigan led 8-5 as the teams switched ends, and finished off the Eagles by winning 15-10, claiming the 3-2 match victory.

Freshman outside hitter and Brazil native Leticia Antunes led NMU with matching a 20 kills and 20 digs against the Dragons. She went on to achieve her second double-double of the weekend against the Eagles tallying 12 kills and 18 digs.

“The biggest change we’ve got to make is to start the games harder, we’ve been starting really slow and we were talking about that earlier in the locker room,” Antunes said “The beginning of the game dictates the rest of it, so if we start hard the rest of the game is definitely going to be easier.”

NMU will now travel to Aurora, Illinois to take part in the Midwest Region Volleyball Crossover next Friday and Saturday.

While the team has watched some film of their upcoming opponents, Lozier said that they are unsure what to expect from their foes and, likewise, they won’t know what to expect from the Wildcats.

“I’m encouraged because I think we play at our best when we’re more focused on ourselves and not worried about the opponent as much and that’s the kind of the situation we’re going to be put in this
week,” Lozier said.