MARQUETTE, Mi. – The Northern Michigan University Volleyball team returns to Vandament Arena for the most anticipated game of the season. The Wildcats took on the Michigan Technological University Huskies in a straight three set win.
The Wildcats wasted no time in securing the first few points of the game, as Jacqueline Smith pounded down her first kill of many. The Vandament was full to the brim with Wildcat fans, making the opening score of 6-0 so much more enjoyable.
The serve went back to the Husky end, giving them the chance to produce a few points. Jacqueline Smith pulled out the full nine yards as she helped the ‘Cats keep the lead, hitting a serve so powerful over the net that you may have thought it was a spike.
Northern seniors Madeline Crowley and Ali Yacko let almost nothing by them as the Huskies continued to try to get back into the set. Someone get these girls a shovel because they’re digging!
As the score hit 17-13 in favor of the ‘Cats, they began closing all the gaps for Husky success. Rayne Thompson stepped in for the Wildcats, showing off her expert vertical, hitting a massive kill. It was set point for the ‘Cats and Ali Yacko walked up to serve the closer, giving the deadly duo Lauren Van Remortel and Jacquline Smith another setup for the perfect kill.
The Wildcats won the set 25-18.
The Huskies secured the first few points of the set, capitalizing on Wildcat errors. The ‘Cats took a quick timeout once the score hit 8-3 Huskies. But Northern came out flying as freshman McKenzie Gruner showed no remorse, hitting a picture-perfect kill.
Both teams danced around the court, while the Huskies were holding a lead at 14-10, the ‘Cats did not let down. Caylie Barlage made tremendous efforts to set the ball from anywhere, one could even see her flying into the stands a few times.
Rayne Thompson and McKenzie Gruner dominated the net, blocking any Husky kill, and throwing down heaters into Husky territory. Lizzy Stark showed her superiority as she tipped and tapped balls over the net that the Huskies could not recover.
The score hit 22-19 in favor of the Huskies, Meghan Meyer and Jacqueline Smith both stepped up to spike the ball. Bringing our score to 22-22. The Huskies began to get nervous as the score got tighter, but the ‘Cats used it to their advantage, setting themselves up for set point. The Wildcats took the set 27-25.
The Wildcats went on to take full control of the first few points of the set. Lizzy Stark smashed down another photo finish kill, which got the whole crowd on their feet. Each play was better than the last as the ‘Cats took every opportunity to succeed, 12-2.
Jacqueline Smith showed the Huskies who was boss as she hit back-to-back kills, extending the Northern lead. Ania Hyatt took the court for the ‘Cats, becoming a vital asset to the Wildcat net blocks.
There was no turning back for the Wildcats as they extended their lead to 22-10. Meghan Meyer once again threw down a perfectly placed spike to send the ‘Cats to match point. Jacqueline Smith was able to close out the game with a nonrecoverable kill.
Final score was 25-14.
Tech is now 7-5 overall and 1-4 in the GLIAC and continues a five-match road stretch at Purdue Northwest Friday and Parkside Saturday.
NMU will travel south to compete in two games. On Friday, Sept 23, the Wildcats will take on the University of Wisconsin- Parkside at 7 p.m. They travel to Indiana to compete on Saturday, Sept 24 against Purdue Northwest University for a midday game at 2 p.m.