NMU volleyball: Wildcats record third-straight GLIAC sweep

MARQUETTE – Good things come in threes, and the Northern Michigan University volleyball team proved just that with its third GLIAC sweep in a row Friday against the Lake Erie Storm.

The Wildcats (9-3 overall, 3-0 GLIAC) held the Storm (0-7, 0-3) to under 20 points in each set with scores of 25-14, 25-19 and 25-12. Head coach Dominic Yoder said he was pleased with the team’s motivated and high energy performance, despite a lull in the second set.

“I thought at times we played really well offensively, and other times I thought we made some silly mistakes,” Yoder said. “Overall I thought the team played very well.”

Seniors Lina Lopes and Kalli Herron lead the team in kills with 13 and 10, respectively, while senior Kellisha Harley tallied 40 of the Wildcats’ 42 assists.

“Anytime you have seniors who are motivated and want to win matches, it has a tremendous impact on the team,” Yoder said.

Newcomer Alex Larson closely trailed the top seniors, recording eight kills for the Wildcats against Lake Erie. Yoder said he anticipates using Larson to help capitalize on the seniors’ talent, as well as a “springboard” into future seasons.

Yoder accounted the team’s second set slowdown to inconsistency and weak serve reception, which are always areas to improve upon.

“When we’re crisp in serve reception and allow our setter to work a little bit easier, our offense flows a little bit more and we’re able to be more dynamic,” Yoder said. “When we serve it well and we pass it well, we do great things.”

Herron said the Wildcats all know what they need to work on individually, and once they improve individually they will come together as a stronger team.

The ‘Cats take on Ashland University (8-3, 2-1 GLIAC) at 4 p.m. on today at the Vandament Arena. Herron said the team took Friday’s match as a learning experience and is looking for a big win Saturday.

“Last year, every one of the games against Ashland was a battle, so it should be a really exciting and energetic game,” Herron said.

With comparable records, Yoder said he believes the Wildcats and Eagles are equally matched and expects a competitive match.

“They have good senior leadership. Their young players are just as good as ours,” Yoder said. “It’s really going to come down to a competitive dog fight, one point versus one point.”