NMU volleyball suffers first conference loss

MARQUETTE, Mich. — Northern Michigan University volleyball (6-6, 6-1 GLIAC) started out hot in the first set but cooled off quickly as the hard swinging Findlay Oilers took the 3-1 victory with scores of 21-25, 26-24, 25-22 and 25-23. The Wildcats continued to play tight losing the match by a total of seven points.

The match started out tight as the two teams battled to an 11-11 draw. From there, NMU was able to go on an 8-2 run to take a commanding 19-13 lead. The Oilers attempted to make a comeback but a Wildcat timeout with NMU up 21-19 slowed down the Oiler momentum and helped lead the ‘Cats to a strong finish with a score of 25-21. The Wildcats came out swinging in the first half as they produced a hitting percentage of .212. NMU also dominated at the net as they were able to block five Oiler attacks in the set. Freshman middle setter started out swinging well as she recorded five kills in the opening set with a hitting percentage of .714.

The second set was a tight affair that saw 19 ties through the set. NMU was able to produce a side out percentage of 68% but Findlay was able to better that at 72%. Both teams also hit extremely well as NMU had a hitting percentage of .276 but once again the Oilers topped the Wildcats with a hitting percentage of .343 as Findlay only had three errors in the set. At the end of the set NMU was still able to find themselves with set point at 24-23 but the Oilers rattled off a quick 3-0 run to take the set 26-24.

NMU came out hot after the break and started the third set leading 12-6. A timeout by Findlay proved to be a crucial momentum swing as the Oilers went on a 12-5 run to take the lead at 18-17. From there, the teams battled to a 22-22 draw where Findlay was able to finish strong with a 3-0 run to end the set at 25-22.

Northern Michigan was able to get out to a 9-7 lead to start the fourth set, but Findlay was able to go on a 9-2 run to take a 16-11 lead. This time it would be an NMU timeout that proved to be a momentum swinger as the Wildcats went on an 8-3 run to tie the game at 19-19. Findlay then was able to finish strong yet again as they were able to find themselves with set point at 24-21. The Wildcats held off the Oilers on the first three set points, but GLIAC leading attacker sophomore Hannah Tong from Findlay was able to finish the set on the fourth set point at 25-23.

Freshman middle hitter Madison Whitehead tied a career high as she led NMU in kills at 17 with junior outside hitter Lisa Studnicka right behind her at 13. The back row of NMU out dug the Oilers by 76-51 led by junior libero Alex Berger who had a game high of 26 digs.

“Our players fought for every point today,” commented Head Coach Dominic Yoder. “There’s really no one thing that needs to be fixed we just need to build some consistency. We talk about it in pregame that championship teams find a way to come out each and every day and be consistent. Hats off to Findlay, though, they were a great serving team they put a lot of pressure on our serve receive and really took us out of our system. For the most part it was two evenly matched teams and it was a tough fought battle.”

Northern Michigan returns to action next weekend when they travel to Malone Friday, October 3rd for a 7 p.m. first serve, followed by a match-up against Walsh Saturday, October 4th at 4 p.m.

(Information Courtesy of NMU Athletics)