BIG RAPIDS - Opening the season in a big way, the Northern Michigan University women's volleyball team won twice Friday at the Ferris State Invitational.
The Wildcats of head coach Dominic Yoder beat the University of Minnesota-Crookston in four games, 25-19, 18-25, 25-21, 25-23 before sweeping Mercyhurst (Pa.) College, 25-12, 25-17, 28-26.
"I'm very excited with our play today. Our serving was the key to both wins," Yoder said.
Against Crookston, juniors Lina Lopes and Sarah Hamilton led the NMU offense. Lopes posted 15 kills, including six in the final game. Hamilton turned in 12 kills, five coming in the second game.
Wildcat senior Andree Ring chipped in nine kills, junior Kalli Herron contributed eight and freshman Lisa Studnicka had seven in her first collegiate match.
Junior setter Kellisha Harley recorded 43 assists in her debut with the 'Cats.
"Kellisha was really clicking with our hitters today," Yoder said. "Our serve reception was good, but our blocking can still improve."
Defensively, freshman libero Alex Berger led the Wildcats with 21 digs, while Lopes added 10. Hamilton and Ring chipped in two block assists each.
Lopes led NMU against Mercyhurst with 13 kills, including eight in the decisive final game. Hamilton and Ring totaled seven apiece. Harley recorded 31 assists.
Berger led Northern on defense against the Lakers with 11 digs.
"Our team defense played really well led by Alex, who played great all day," Yoder said.
The invitational wraps up today, with NMU matches scheduled against West Virginia State at 9 a.m. and Glenville State (W. Va.) at 3 p.m.