MARQUETTE, Mich. – Northern Michigan University (4-5, 4-0 GLIAC) finished their three game road trip with a 3-1 victory over Ashland. NMU was able to bounce back after dropping the first set to take the final three in the four set victory over the Eagles. The Wildcats went 2-1 on the road trip with both wins coming in GLIAC matches.
NMU and Ashland came out trading points to start and led to an Ashland 5-4 lead. The Eagles then went on a 5-1 run to take the first significant lead at 10-5. The Wildcats answered, however, and brought the set back to a manageable 10-9 Ashland lead. The teams then went back to trading points until Ashland found themselves leading 17-15. From there, the Eagles went on an 8-2 run to close out the set.
Ashland continued to use their momentum they gained at the end of the first set jumping out to an 8-1 lead to start the second set. Ashland eventually found themselves leading 13-5 when NMU went on a 6-0 run to cut into the lead and bring the game to a 13-11 tally. The teams traded points but Ashland was able to hold onto the lead to a 23-21 score. NMU was able to put together a crucial 4-0 run to end the set and bring the match to a 1-1 tie. Sophomore right side hitter Alex Larsen led the charge with three kills during the set clinching run.
The Wildcats got out to the early 3-0 lead to start the third set and never looked back as Ashland was unable to take the lead from NMU. The set was tight from start to finish, however, but NMU was able to take the 2-1 set lead with a strong finish to go along with their good start. At 16-15 NMU, the Wildcats went on a small 3-1 run, led by junior outside hitter Lisa Studnicka’s two kills, which gave Northern Michigan a 19-16 advantage. This proved to be enough as both sides were unable to keep serve the rest of the set. This allowed NMU to go on to take the set 25-21. The key for the Wildcats came up front as the offense had a hitting percentage of .235 for the set. The Wildcats managed to only commit four attacking errors over the set.
Ashland came out fast to start the fourth as they needed the win to force a set five. The Eagles came out to an early 7-2 lead as their offense had four kills and three aces to start the set. NMU had an answer, though, as the Eagle offense cooled off and the Wildcats took advantage of some sloppy Ashland play to go on a 6-0 and take an 8-7 lead forcing an Eagle timeout. The set then went to a back and forth style following the timeout to a 12-12 tie. NMU was able to jump ahead with a 7-2 run giving them a comfortable 19-14 advantage forcing Ashland to use their second timeout. The pause in the action slowed down the Wildcats momentarily, but NMU was able to continue to roll and closed out the set at 25-20. NMU hit well again in the fourth set with a hitting percentage of .250.
At the net, the Wildcats recorded ten blocks as a team led by sophomore Bridget Bussell ‘s six block assists. Studnicka led the way offensively with a team high 12 kills followed by freshman Madison Whitehead who tallied another nine kills. Junior libero Alex Berger recorded a game high 22 digs to lead the Wildcats defense.
“This was a good road trip for us,” commented Head Coach Dominic Yoder. “The team really came together. A lot of different players got to see action, which allowed us to mix and match our lineup to maintain an outstanding defense and offensive strategy. Blocking was outstanding once again today. Berger again added an outstanding serve receive and floor defense for us. Studnicka led us with offense and calm court presence. Overall this was an outstanding team win today.”
Northern Michigan returns to Vandament Arena for their first home GLIAC contest when they host rival Michigan Tech Tuesday, Sept. 23rd with first serve at 6 p.m.
(Information Courtesy of NMU Athletics)