HOUGHTON — The Northern Michigan volleyball team started out hot against Upper Iowa as they won the first two sets (25-16, 26-24), but the Peacocks were able to come back and win the final three sets (25-17, 25-14, 15-13) in the five set thriller.
The Wildcats came out swinging hot as they opened the match by hitting .406 in the first set. The opener started out tight as the teams battled to a 4-4 tie. From there NMU was able to slowly pull away and eventually lead by as much as 10 at 22-12. NMU would cruise the rest of the way and take the set by a final of 25-16.
The second set proved to be a well played set from start to finish on both sides. The largest lead over the course of the set was a mere four points when Upper Iowa lead 13-9. The set rolled on and the Wildcats were able to come back to tie the set at 18-18 where they were able to go on a crucial 4-1 run to give them a 22-19 advantage. Upper Iowa wouldn’t let up, however, as they were able to make a come back of their own as they were able to tie the game at 23 and then again at 24. NMU was able to take advantage of a pair of Peacock attacking errors to end the set at 26-24.
Upper Iowa came out fast trying to make up for their mistakes in the second set as they were able to jump out to a quick lead. NMU was able to fight back, however, and were able to get back in the set relatively quickly. The set appeared to be headed for a similar finish as the second set but at a 16-16 tie, Upper Iowa was able to roll out a 7-0 run to go ahead 24-16. The Peacocks eventually took the set shortly after at 25-17 and drastically shifted the momentum for the rest of the match.
It appeared that NMU would be able to battle back after a tough third set loss as the two teams fought to a close 10-7 game to start the set with Upper Iowa holding the advantage. Similarly to the third set, however, NMU struggled to get a much needed side out as Upper Iowa went on runs of 8-0 and 5-0 to pull ahead 24-12 and eventually take the set 25-14.
The last set proved to be a back and forth affair as the largest lead was once again only three points when Upper Iowa lead 8-5. From there it was back and forth as neither team could hold onto the serve. The game would lead up to a 12-12 tie where Upper Iowa was able to come out on top and take the set 15-13.
Junior Lisa Studnicka had a game high 24 kills which is also a career high for the outside hitter. Freshman Meghan Seymour had a game high three service aces for the Wildcats along with 15 assists. On the defensive side, the Wildcats played well at the front of the net recording a total of 15 blocks at the net. Junior libero Alex Berger had another good night as she lead the way for NMU with 24 digs out of the back row.
“I thought we played extremely well in the first two sets and most of the fifth,” said NMU head coach Dominic Yoder “In the third and fourth sets it seemed that our service broke down a little bit and we just weren’t able to side out. I thought our team really served extremely well and we really forced them out of their system and allowed our defense to work pretty easy. Nine team blocks is really good for us considering we are pretty young across the front. Lisa Studnicka had a career high with 24 kills. I was really impressed with her leadership and the offensive threat she offered us. In the end it just came down to consistency and too many unforced errors.”
NMU will look to bounce back quickly as they finish out the Keweenaw Classic tomorrow where they are set to play Bemidji State at 1 p.m. and Winona State to follow at 5 p.m.
(Information Courtesy of NMU Athletics)