No. 20 NMU Volleyball Advances to GLIAC Semifinals

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UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. – No. 20 Northern Michigan University volleyball is moving on in the 2021 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament after defeating Davenport University 3-1 in the quarterfinal round on Saturday evening at Saginaw Valley State University. 

The Wildcats led for much of the opening frame and took the lead for good after breaking a 7-7 tie. A Jacqueline Smith kill, assisted by Lauren Van Remortel, led to the tie and kicked off a six-point run for NMU. Smith had three kills in the run while Hailey Wickstrom had two. The run was capped off by a block from Wickstrom and Evynn Layshock.

The Wildcats continued to hold the lead for the rest of the set, using a couple of small runs to keep momentum in their favor.

The closest the Panthers would get was a deficit of seven as NMU earned a convincing 25-14 win in the opening set of their GLIAC Tournament action.

Set two saw Davenport open up an 8-1 lead using a 6-0 run at the beginning of the frame to tilt things in their favor.

The Wildcats were able to pull within two after a block from Smith followed by a kill from the 2021 GLIAC Freshman of the Year. 

DU was able to pull away again and get to a 24-13 set point.

NMU fought back and went on a 6-0 run. The run, which consisted of four Panther errors and kills from 2021 All-GLIAC Second-Team member Lizzy Stark and Ania Hyatt cut the score to 24-19. 

Davenport was able to earn the set point after the Wildcat run and took the second frame victory 24-19.

The teams exchanged points to begin the third before the Panthers went on a 4-0 run to go up 5-1. NMU was not phased and went on a 13-2 tear to put Wildcats in the lead for good at 14-7. 

DU was able to cut the lead to five at the 18-13 mark but kills by 2021 All-GLIAC First Team honorees Van Remortel and Meghan Meyer added some more separation. 

A Wickstrom kill followed by a Stark kill would secure the 25-16 third-set victory for NMU.

Consecutive kills from Smith and a couple of mistakes from the Panthers helped the Wildcats to a quick 4-2 lead in the fourth frame. 

NMU never trailed again and used a 5-0 run to climb to a 17-9 lead. The run featured Smith notching a kill and a service ace and also two Wickstrom kills both assisted by 2021 All-GLIAC Honorable Mention Team member Alli Yacko.

The Wildcats’ lead would grow as large as 12 at 24-12 after two Smith kills and a Hyatt block. Davenport would string together a small run late in the set to pull within nine, but it was too little and too late for the Panthers. Smith notched a Van Remortel assisted kill to close out the set and the match, 25-15.

Stark had a match-high 18 kills for NMU. Wickstrom and Smith also notched double-digit kills with Wickstom adding 16 and Smith contributing 15. 

Hyatt hit at a .818 clip with nine kills and no attacking errors on 11 attempts. Of players with double-digit kills, Wickstrom led the Wildcats with a .452 percentage.

Three players for NMU had digs in double figures. The defensive efforts of Yacko (26), Van Remortel (15), and Stark (11) came up big for the Wildcats.

NMU faces Grand Valley State University tomorrow in the semifinal round of the GLIAC Tournament. The Lakers advanced to the semifinals after sweeping Ashland in today’s quarterfinals. 

The match will take place on the campus of Saginaw Valley State University tomorrow at 4 p.m.

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