Meyer, Smith earn NMU Volleyball Open All-Tournament honors as the Wildcats open season 3-1


Chris Anderson/NW

IN IT TO WIN IT – After being down 6-13 to the Beavers in the final match of the NMU Open, the Wildcats call a critical timeout. NMU went on to win 3-1.

Chris Anderson, Sports Editor

As the season opens up for the NMU Women’s volleyball, great things seem to be in store. Led by All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference players Meghan Meyer, Jacqueline Smith and Lizzy Stark, the team started the season strong with a 3-1 record.

Aug. 25 marked the first match of the NMU Open against Minnesota Crookston, and the Wildcats dominated the entire time, winning three sets in a row by scores of 25-17, 25-18 and 25-16 to close out the first day of the tournament. 

“You know, we did not really know what to expect in this tournament,” Smith said after the first game. “I think we were not really focused on the other teams. We were more focused on our team and our abilities, and I think we were pretty confident in what we could accomplish as a team.”

Friday, Aug. 26 was day two of the NMU Open and the Wildcats opened the day with a tough 3-2 loss to Cedarville University.

“I think our advice was just stay in our play in our system … we tried to push too much, and we just really focused on ourselves,” Smith said.

NMU took the first set 25-23 and went back and forth with the Yellow Jackets for the next couple sets until they were tied 2-2. The Yellow Jackets took the fifth and final set by a score of 10-15 to outlast the ‘Cats for the win.

“I feel like we were not quite playing ourselves. We were not quite playing together as we normally do,” Meyer said. “I think we just needed our coach to remind us after the end, we just needed a little reset to play together.” 

The third match was postponed until later that night with the Wildcats facing Upper Iowa University. The ‘Cats took an early 2-0 lead, but the Peacocks came back with an intense fourth set, winning 28-26 and tied it 2-2. In the end NMU beat the Peacocks and won the final set 15-12.

On Saturday, the final day of the tournament, NMU faced Bemidji State. After a sluggish 6-13 start in the first set, the Wildcats dominated the second set by winning 25-11. 

“Where we were not playing together, it was kind of quiet out there,” Smith said. “And then our advice was just bring the energy back up and the bench helped bring that back to the team which was awesome. We just had to bring that energy back on to the court.”

The Wildcats went on to win the match 3-1 and end the NMU Open, and a great start to the season, with a 3-1 record.

“As a team, our goals are just taking it one day at a time and we are focusing on getting a W every day, whether it is just a drill or the practice,” Meyer said. “Even if it is not on the scoreboard, just being ourselves and winning.”