‘Cats Volleyball gets convincing sweep of Saginaw Valley State

SWEEPING+SAGINAW%E2%80%94NMU+junior+rightside+hitter+Hailey+Wickstrom+goes+up+for+the+spike+during+last+season+when+fans+were+actually+allowed+in+arenas.+Her+team+picked+a+sweep+over+Saginaw+Valley+State+this+past+weekend.+Photo+courtesy+of+Hailey+Wickstrom.

SWEEPING SAGINAW—NMU junior rightside hitter Hailey Wickstrom goes up for the spike during last season when fans were actually allowed in arenas. Her team picked a sweep over Saginaw Valley State this past weekend. Photo courtesy of Hailey Wickstrom.

Travis Nelson

The NMU Volleyball team is off to a hot start in GLIAC play this season at 3-1 after facing off with Ferris State and Saginaw Valley State. The Wildcats faced the latter this past weekend in their home gym of Vandament Arena and picked up two victories over the Cardinals.

NMU won both matches by a score of 3-1 in their first home matches of the season. Friday’s match was a dominant showing for the Wildcats, winning the two sets 25-14 and 25-12. SVSU picked off the third set 25-21, but the ‘Cats responded for a 25-21 win of their own in the fourth set to close things out. The Wildcats finished with 65 digs compared to the Cardinals’ 48, and NMU junior libero Alli Yacko led the match with 22. Freshman outside hitter Jacqueline Smith made her presence known early in her career with 22 kills in Friday’s match, and 15 on Saturday, earning GLIAC North Volleyball Player of the Week. 

“Anytime you can win two on a weekend is good. Friday, I mean the box score is pretty indicative of what happened. We came out ready to go, Saginaw wasn’t prepared for what we had to offer so we kind of kicked them around a little bit,” Head Coach Mike Lozier said. “Let our foot off the gas in the third set and let them get a win and then took care of business in the fourth.”

Saturday’s match was much closer, and Lozier felt his team didn’t have it the entire match, he said. But NMU still found a way to get the win in four sets. The first two sets were both 25-23 Wildcat victories, about just as close as you can get. The Cardinals got the third set with a 25-20 score, but the ‘Cats won the fourth set 25-19 to earn the split. Along with Smith’s performance of 15 kills, junior right-side hitter Hailey Wickstrom also had 15 kills for NMU. Smith had 14 digs for the ‘Cats, and freshman middle blocker Meghan Meyer contributed with six blocks.

“The fact that we got a win ultimately means we’re a pretty good program. We can show up and not seem like we’re good to go and still get a win is in the grand scheme of things okay, but we have to learn from it,” Lozier said.

Northern returns to the Vandament this weekend on March 5-6 when they host the Wisconsin-Parkside Rangers in a doubleheader.