UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. – A trip to the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament Championship is on the calendar for No. 20 Northern Michigan University volleyball after they picked up a 3-1 win over Grand Valley State University on Saturday in the GLIAC Tournament semifinal.
The Lakers pulled within one at 9-8 and kept things close for a majority of the opening frame.
NMU was able to take a three-point lead following a Lizzy Stark kill, assisted by Van Remortel. GVSU called a timeout following the kill. The Lakers scored a point after the stoppage but the Wildcats continued to hold the lead as the teams exchanged points.
Set one ended with a 6-2 stretch from NMU. A Hailey Wickstrom kill got the Wildcats to the set point and a GVSU error closed out the 25-20 NMU set win.
The Lakers struck first in set two with back-to-back points. In the early part of the frame, the teams tied things up four times with GVSU only able to pull ahead by two.
The Wildcats earned their first lead of the second set by way of a Laker attack error. After another GVSU error, Smith struck to build the NMU lead to 10-8.
After tying the match at 13-13, the Lakers would push out to a 16-13 lead thanks to a 4-0 run. The Wildcats returned a 4-0 run of their own to capture the lead again. The run featured kills from Smith and Meghan Meyer as well as a Smith service ace.
GVSU tied the game at 18-18 but NMU used another 4-0 run to take a 22-18 lead. Stark had three kills in the run, the other point was a bad set by the opposing team.
In the end, a Smith kill earned the 25-21 victory for the Wildcats in the second set.
Back-to-back Smith kills, with Van Remortel on the assists, began the third frame. The NMU lead did not hold as the Lakers went on a 7-1 run to claim a 7-3 lead.
The Wildcats called a timeout and it proved to be a helpful decision. Meyer had a kill coming out of the break followed by a GVSU error that pulled NMU within two.
The Lakers were able to maintain the lead for the rest of the set. A Stark kill and a bad set by GVSU decreased the Laker lead to five, but that was as close as the Wildcats could get for the rest of the 25-17 set three loss.
Both teams opened the fourth frame trading points. Meyer was the first to put NMU on the board on a kill assisted by Van Remortel.
It remained close in the early going as the match was tied six times up to the 9-9 point. GVSU was able to use a small run to pull to a 12-9 lead after the tie.
A few points later, a Stark kill brought the Wildcats within one at 15-14. The Lakers struck for a 3-0 run and pushed out to a 19-14 advantage.
NMU head coach, and 2021 GLIAC Coach of the Year, Mike Lozier called a timeout for the Wildcats after the opponent’s run. NMU came out of the break and scored three straight points. Stark and Smith notched kills on the run.
The offensive boost from the Wildcats forced a timeout by GVSU. The Lakers had an attack error to bring NMU within one at 19-18 following the timeout. GVSU increased their lead after that point with back-to-back points.
Later in the set, with the Lakers up 23-21, the Wildcats locked in and got the job done.
Meyer struck for a kill to open a 4-0 scoring run for NMU that clinched the match. Following the Meyer kill, two GVSU attack errors put the Wildcats up by one at 24-23. Stark secured the 25-23 match win with a Van Remortel assisted kill.
Smith led the team and the match in kills with 21. She also had a team-high hitting percentage of .314. Stark was close behind in kills with 20 to her name.
NMU was also led by Smith in service aces as she was able to provide three to the Wildcat effort.
Alli Yacko and Van Remortel each had a match and team-high 19 digs. Smith and Stark also had double-digit digs with Smith notching 11 and Stark adding 10.
NMU and Michigan Technological University clash tomorrow in the GLIAC Tournament Championship. The Wildcats and Huskies met twice in the regular season and split the series with each picking-up match wins on their respective home courts.
First serve of the 2021 GLIAC Championship match is set for 1 p.m. tomorrow at Saginaw Valley State University.