Freshman, Coach of the Year Awards Highlight No. 20 Volleyball’s GLIAC Honors

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BAY CITY, Mich. – No. 20 Northern Michigan University Volleyball took home the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Player of the Year and Coach of the Year awards as well as several All-GLIAC Team honors on the eve of the 2021 GLIAC Tournament opening day.

Freshman Jacqueline Smith took home the 2021 GLIAC Freshman of the Year after an impressive campaign in her first year in Marquette.

Smith finished the regular season with 193 total kills and averaged 4.02 kills per set.  She led the GLIAC for the majority of the year in kills and kills per set and finished second in both categories. The freshman hailing from Saint Germain, Wis. was named the GLIAC North Player of the Week in early March, the first weekly honor of her career. She also had the kill that won the final match of the season for NMU and secured the GLIAC Regular Season Championship. She notched eight kill and dig double-doubles and hit the 20-kill or more mark three times over the course of the season.

Smith is the first Wildcat to win the GLIAC Freshman of the Year award since Lina Lopes in 2010. She was also named to the All-GLIAC First Team.

Mike Lozier was named the GLIAC Volleyball Coach of the Year, the first for the program since Jim Moore took home the award in 2003.

Lozier led NMU to a 12-2 record this season. After dropping their first match, the Wildcats went on to win 11 straight matches, which included winning every contest in the month of March. That streak included a four-match run of 3-0 sweeps from March 12-20. The coach also had student-athletes finish in the top five of kills per set, kills, hitting percentage, digs per set, digs, service aces per set, and assists per set in the GLIAC regular season.

Joining Smith on the All-GLIAC First Team is sophomore Lauren Van Remortel and freshman Meghan Meyer.

Van Remortel, the Wildcats’ setter, started all 55 sets this season and averaged 11 assists per set, which tied her for second in the GLIAC. The Carmel, Ind. native racked up 605 assists over NMU’s 14 regular season matches. The sophomore added 1.76 digs per set along with 16 total blocks this season.

Meyer, a middle blocker, is hitting a team and GLIAC-high .411 on the year with 107 kills (2.33/set). She also leads the Wildcat team in blocks with 34. The freshman from Ada, Mich. racked up five double-digit kill outings during the 2021 regular season. Defensively, she posted a team-high 34 total blocks with 10 of those solo. 

Two more members of the NMU team earned All-GLIAC honors. Junior Lizzy Stark made the All-GLIAC Second Team for the second year in a row while junior Alli Yacko was named to the All-GLIAC Honorable Mention team.

Stark notched five kill and dig double-doubles this season. The outside hitter out of Minneapolis, Minn. was second on the team in kills with 179 (3.25/set) and was third in digs with 145 (2.64/set). She also added 13 total blocks and four service aces.

Yacko, the libero for NMU, was second in the GLIAC in digs (259) and fifth in digs per set (4.71). The Oak Lawn, Ill. native had 13 service aces and 34 assists, the second-most on the team for each category.

The three Wildcat student-athletes named to the All-GLIAC First team is the most for the program since 1998. The five total All-Conference team members tie the mark set in 2003.

The Wildcats return to the court tomorrow in University Center, Mich. for the quarterfinal round of the GLIAC Tournament. First serve is set for 7 p.m. and the opponent will be determined tomorrow in first-round action.

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