Wildcats volleyball falls twice at tournament

MARQUETTE – Northern Michigan dropped their final two matches at the Keweenaw Classic. The Wildcats played tough losing both matches 3-1 where their largest set loss was only by eight points.

Northern Michigan started out the day with a match-up against Bemidji State. The Wildcats played well but were unable to come up with the victory in a four set match that saw two sets finish with a score of 25-23.

The Beavers came out to a slight 5-3 lead early in the first set, but Alex Berger went back to the service line and was able to help lead the Wildcats to a 7-0 run where Berger had two aces during the run. Bemidji answered back immediately, however, as they quickly knotted the game back up at 10 a piece. In the race to 15, Bemidji took the first advantage by getting out to a 19-15 advantage. From there it was Lisa Studnicka’s turn to go back to the service line where she helped bring Northern to a 19-19 draw thanks to some Bemidji miss hits in the front row. Berger then went back to the line once again and helped bring Northern to the slight 23-22 advantage and looking at a set victory. Bemidji was able to roll out a set clinching 3-0 run, however, where the Wildcats had two hitting errors at the end of the set.

The second set was a tight affair from start to finish. The largest lead for either team during the set was only three points when the Beavers started the game leading 9-6. The set went back and forth and saw Northern Michigan in a similar position with a 23-22 set lead. Once again, however, NMU let the lead slip away as Bemidji finished the set with a 3-0 run, which was assisted by two Wildcat errors.

Northern was able to avoid the sweep in the third set as they came out fast jumping out to a 9-3 lead. Bemidji bounced back, however, and made the game a 16-15 match in favor of NMU. From there the Wildcats pulled off a 6-0 run to take a commanding 22-15 lead in the set. The run would be fueled by three Studnicka kills. NMU managed to cruise to the set win at 25-19.

The fourth set started out tight as the Beavers came out to a 6-5 advantage. Some mishits by the Wildcats helped fuel Bemidji to extend their lead to 11-6, however. From there the Beavers were able to control the ball and NMU couldn’t find a way to keep the ball and get on a good run to cut into the Bemidji lead. The set eventually finished with a score of 25-17 giving Bemidji the 3-1 match win.

“We played well over all,” said Head Coach Dominic Yoder after the match. “Couple key errors near the end of sets one and two put pressure on us to perform. The team came out very well to start the third set, but we just had too many young errors in the fourth. Our young players are taking steps forward gaining valuable experience.”

Three Wildcats managed to finish the match in double digit kills; Sophomore Alex Larsen (15), Freshman Kayla Chosa (12) and Junior Lisa Studnicka (11). Freshman Megan Seymour had a good game assisting in 41 of the 48 Wildcat kills. Junior libero Alex Berger managed to dig up 23 balls in the match with Studnicka right behind her with 19 digs herself.

The second match of the day featured NMU facing off against Winona State. Once again, the Wildcats played tight as each set was decided by five or fewer points, but NMU was unable to come out on top falling 3-1.

NMU started out the first set well as they were able to get out to an 18-13 lead to start. A Winona State timeout proved to be costly, however, as it took away some of the NMU momentum. Following the timeout Winona would go on an 8-3 run and bring the game to 22-21 score with a small NMU lead. From there Winona eventually would tie the set at 24-24. Northern Michigan would get the crucial next point via a Kayla Chosa kill to give them an opportunity to close out the set. Winona would take advantage of an NMU attacking error, however, to retie the game at 25. A pair of Winona kills by Taylor Goar would clinch set one for the Warriors.

The second set was a back and forth affair similar to the type of volleyball the Wildcats had been playing all day. Northern would eventually find themselves up 24-21. NMU was unable to find the set win in the first two set points they had but the third time proved to be the charm as Lisa Studnicka’s kill put the match at a 1-1 tie.

The third set NMU came out to a fast start, but were unable to hold off a strong surge from Winona. Northern Michigan found themselves up 16-10, but a 10-4 Warrior run put the game at a 20-20 stand still. A 3-1 run gave Winona the 23-21 lead and the front row of the Warriors would be able to lead them to the finish line with a 25-22 victory.

After coming out slow for the first couple sets, Winona was able to start out fast for the fourth set. The Wildcats weren’t willing to let the Raiders pull away, however, and made it a close contest. At 10-10 Winona was able to go on a 9-4 run, which proved to be a big blow putting the set at 19-14. From there NMU struggled to keep from siding out and Winona was able to cruise to the 25-20 win.

“I was very impressed with freshmen Madison Whitehead  and Kayla Chose,” commented Coach Yoder after the loss. “Both played well above their age. Meghan Seymour eally added consistency from the setting position for us today. Team blocking from our freshmen and sophomores was outstanding today. Incosistency in serve receive really hurt us in sets three and four. We look to rebound with more consistency this week in preperation against Northwood and Lake Superior State.”

Junior Lisa Studnicka lead the offense with her 15 kills while Madison Whitehead and Kayla Chosa produced double digit kills with 11 and 10 respectively. Junior Alex Berger had a game high 31 digs for the ‘Cats, while Meghan Seymour assisted on 36 NMU kills.

NMU opens up GLIAC play next weekend when they travel to Northwood Friday, September 12th for a 7 p.m. match-up and then head to Lake Superior State for a 3 p.m. match on Saturday, September 13th.

(Information Courtesy of NMU Athletics)