BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University volleyball team took a talented Ferris State University team to the wire on their home court in a 3-2 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) loss Friday afternoon.
In the first set, the Wildcats struggled at stopping the Bulldog attack. A 4-0 Ferris State run set the tone for the contest in which NMU put up eight total points. Even after falling behind the Wildcat team did not stop fighting, as kills by Hailey Wickstrom and Ania Hyatt came late in the set. The Bulldogs took set one 25-8.
The second set was NMU’s time to prove they were there to win. A Jacqueline Smith kill, assisted by Lauren Van Remortel, got the game rolling for the Wildcats. Both teams kept it even as the set rolled on. After Ferris State took a 24-22 lead, NMU came to life with three straight points. Two kills, one from Hyatt and another from Smith, and a service ace from Lizzy Stark gave the Wildcats the lead. NMU took the set with a score of 34-32.
The Bulldogs bounced back and were able to win the third set. Smith tied the game 23-23 for the Wildcats on a service ace, but Ferris State scored the final two points to earn a 25-23 set three win.
Following the theme of the rest of the game, the fourth set was a close affair. NMU was able to pull away late in the fourth after a Bulldog attack error and a Wickstrom kill gave a 23-17 lead. Ferris State made a comeback attempt and was able to pull within one, but a Stark kill assisted by Van Remortel forced a fifth set after the 25-23 win.
With the final set underway the teams were yet again jostling for the lead the entire time. The Wildcats found themselves tied with the Bulldogs 15-15 after a Ferris State service error, but it was not enough to push them to the win as they fell 17-15.
Smith led the team on offense with 22 kills. Wickstrom added 18 while Stark contributed 16 kills. Hyatt chipped in 10 kills while Van Remortel, Meghan Meyer, and Angelina Negron tallied four, two and one, respectively.
Stark was the team leader in digs with 29 digs while Alli Yacko had 24. Van Remortel and Smith also added double-digit digs for NMU. Van Remortel had 17 and Smith added 15.
Negron and Hyatt had three total blocks, while Wickstrom, Van Remortel, and Smith had one block assist each.
Madeline Crowley had a team-high three service aces followed by Van Remortel with two.
The Wildcats are now 0-1 on the season and in the GLIAC while Ferris State sits at 1-0 overall and in the GLIAC. NMU faces the Bulldogs again at 2 p.m. tomorrow in Big Rapids, Mich. for the final match of the early-season series.