MARQUETTE - Getting a victory against the GLIAC's only undefeated team would have been a definite treat for the Northern Michigan University volleyball team after defeating conference rival Hillsdale 3-1 on Friday night.
However, the host Wildcats couldn't overcome internal adjustments and a lack of focus Saturday to beat the Northwood Timberwolves, losing 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, and 25-21).
Northwood (22-5 overall, 16-0 GLIAC) remains as the top team in the GLIAC heading into the final week of regular season play while Northern is now 18-11 overall and 10-6 in the league.
Northern Michigan University’s Kalli Herron tips the ball over Northwood defenders Tatjana Rajic (9) and Jordan Dunn (5) Saturday. (Journal photo by Amanda Monthei)
"We weren't focused and we lost one of our key players, Jasmine Calhoun, because of family matters," NMU head coach Dominic Yoder said. "That really affected our chemistry and our lineup."
Yoder said, however, Saturday's loss can't be attributed solely to the alterations in the lineup.
"The changes didn't work and we missed Jasmine, but that's not the whole reason why we lost," he said. "We just didn't execute serve reception."
Team energy tended to come and go sporadically throughout the match. In the second set, for example, the Wildcats trailed 7-0 to start, came back to equal the score at 20 before ultimately losing, 25-23.
"We weren't focused enough, like when we had to finish the game and get ahead and score, we just weren't focused," junior left-side hitter Lina Lopes said. "I think we could have beaten them, that's for sure."
Lopes led the Cats with 14 kills, while Sarah Hamilton came in with nine. Right-side hitter Kalli Herron, who was attacking from the middle due to the lineup change, contributed six kills to the Wildcats' offensive effort.
On defense, Kalin Zimmerman notched 11 digs.
"I think in general, the game was good," Lopes said. "Things were working out, but it was different, too, because we didn't have Jasmine tonight and we had to change the lineup again.
"In the beginning, it was kind of confusing to figure out where the rotations were and getting used to playing Kalli in the middle instead of the right side."
Lopes added if Northern were to meet Northwood again in the postseason, there may be some vengeance present.
"We're going to be angry, that's for sure," she said when discussing the possibility of a future matchup.
Northwood was led offensively by Tatjana Rajic with 15 kills. Zina Liubymova posted 12 digs.
Amanda Monthei can be reached at 228-2500 or at firstname.lastname@example.org