MARQUETTE - In a grueling five sets, the Northern Michigan University volleyball team was defeated by the Ashland Eagles 23-25, 11-25, 25-21, 25-18, 15-7, on Saturday at the Vandament Arena.
"I think we're really evenly matched," NMU head coach Dominic Yoder said. "We just didn't do what we needed to do against them."
The Wildcats (9-3 overall, 3-1 GLIAC) and Eagles (9-4, 3-1) battled for each point in set one. They traded the lead several times, and at no point was the score more than two points apart.
Northern Michigan University libero Alex Berger (13) dives for a dig during a GLIAC match against the Ashland Eagles on Saturday afternoon at the Vandament Arena in Marquette. (Journal photo by Jenna Thompson)
Sets three and four were close through double digits, and then Ashland broke away from the 'Cats. NMU began its comeback too late to claim victory in either set.
"They made some adjustments after the second set and we countered with some adjustments," Yoder said. "We just weren't able to control one of their adjustments and that was No. 17 on the left side."
Ashland's No. 17, freshman Alli Cudworth posted a team-high 18 kills for the Eagles, seven of which were in the third set.
"Ashland did a good job of sustaining momentum throughout the sets, especially in set three," Yoder said. "We just weren't able to capitalize on their mistakes."
Top performers for the 'Cats were seniors Lina Lopes and Sarah Hamilton, who each had team-high statistics in at least one category. Lopes recorded 14 kills and 13 digs, while Hamilton had 12 kills and six block assists.
Yoder also noted senior setter Kellisha Harley's strong performance throughout the match with 41 assists and five block assists.
The Wildcats continue their conference play on the road against Michigan Tech at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. The Huskies are 6-7 overall and 3-1 in the GLIAC.
In order to defeat the Huskies, Yoder said the 'Cats will need to create more consistencies in play and try to stay within their game plan.
Tech, which was sept by Ashland on Friday in three sets, turned around and took out Lake Erie on Saturday in three sets at home.