‘Cats volleyball looks to bounce back after tough home weekend


ROARING RESPONSE—Freshman middle blocker Olivia Webber attempts a spike against Davenport on Sunday, Sept. 19. NMU looks for a response this weekend on the road against Northwood and Lake Superior State. Brendan Sullivan/NW

Dallas Wiertella, Staff Writer

The NMU Volleyball team played its first conference matches of the season at home this past weekend, defeating Ferris State University (3-1) on Friday, and falling to Grand Valley State University (3-0) and Davenport University (3-1) on Saturday and Sunday.

With the target put on their back from last year’s performance, NMU (4-7, 1-2 GLIAC) felt the pressure as it fought to live up to its title as GLIAC champions and fell short by only a few points on three of their losing sets. With a rocky start to their conference games, the ‘Cats head back into practice ready to own up to their title. 

“With it being so early in the season I don’t see it being something that needs to be dwelled upon,” junior team captain Alli Yacko said, who is out for the season due to injury. “I think we need to recognize and take ownership of it while we build back the confidence of being last year’s champions.” 

All three games were played at home in the Vandament Arena where, unlike last year, the fans were able to show up and support the Wildcats throughout each game. Head Coach Mike Lozier reached out on social media to thank the crowd for showing their pride throughout the weekend. 

“I can’t thank the students and community members enough for coming out and supporting us,” Lozier said. “I can take losing, I hate it and it kills me but I can take it. What really hurts me is knowing that these people came out and supported us and we didn’t put out the show that we deserved.”

The students in the crowd did not cease their cheers for the athletes all weekend. No matter the performance, the crowd remained electric, said freshman student Josh Bolanowski. 

“I think there’s just more energy now that everyone is here,” Bolanowski said during Sunday’s match against Davenport. “They have a lot of energy as far as the team goes, I’m excited to see what happens out there.”

The team is composed of many young players and with the 2020-21 season not counting as an athletic year, there’s still a lot of room for improvement even after what Northern accomplished. With a crowd cheering them on and previous roles to fill as champions, the players’ confidence on the court is invaluable.

“The one thing you always get to be nervous about when you lose a couple of matches is their confidence level,” Lozier said. “So we are really going to focus on making sure they are confident for this weekend and trying to build that up.”

This weekend, the Wildcats continue conference play on the road at Northwood University and Lake Superior State University. The two opponents stand in sixth and 11th in the GLIAC standings respectively after last weekend. Going 1-2 at home has the Wildcats preparing to learn and take on these opponents while bringing home victories.

“We have to continue to get better and learn more about our opponents.” Lozier said. “We are still not applying the fundamental skills we work in the gym. When we do things the right way, we succeed.”