Tough way to lose
MARQUETTE – After taking a 2-0 sets lead on Monday night, the Northern Michigan University women’s volleyball team appeared ready to win its fifth straight match.
The University of Wisconsin-Parkside had other ideas, however.
The visiting Rangers rallied for a 3-2 nonconference victory at Vandament Arena, 15-25, 20-25, 25-19, 25-22, 15-13.
“Hats off to them,” NMU head coach Dominic Yoder said after his team fell to 10-7 on the season. “They came out and elevated their game.”
UW-Parkside, which also beat NMU 3-2 last season, improved to 11-7 overall with its fifth win in its last six matches.
“My team is becoming famous for these (comebacks),” head coach Christine Paciero said. “We’ve had a lot of five-set matches (this season).”
Lisa Gregerson led the Rangers with 16 kills. Allyn Krenz added 11, while Jackie Langer contributed nine to go with 10 digs.
For NMU, Lisa Studnicka posted 14 kills, three aces and 10 digs. Teammate Madison Whitehead chipped in 12 kills and Kayla Chosa 10, while Meghan Seymour tallied 34 assists.
The Wildcats controlled the first two games. NMU broke open a tight first set, turning an 8-7 lead into a 20-11 advantage with a 12-4 run, highlighted by three kills by Studnicka.
Northern took an 8-2 lead in the second set, saw the Rangers come back to forge a 9-9 tie before holding off UW-Parkside the rest of the way once the Wildcats claimed a 19-15 advantage.
Northern’s Alex Berger recorded two aces in the set, as did Studnicka, whose kill resulted in the winning point for NMU.
“We passed the ball well and gave ourselves a chance to win (the match),” Yoder said.
But Paciero said she made some changes that turned the match around.
“I had a small right side block and Northern was taking advantage of that,” she said. “So, I completely changed my lineup and went bigger on the right side. It worked.
“I also switched my libero and Megan (Pekarek) did a great job.”
The Rangers broke away from a 10-10 tie with a 9-5 run behind a pair of aces by Jessi Mainczyk and never looked back.
“We made some young mistakes,” Yoder said.
In the fourth set, the two teams went back and forth, UW-Parkside turning a 20-20 tie into the 25-22 win with a late surge.
“Our servicing broke down and we weren’t able to define our middle attack. And Parkside blocked better, too,” Yoder said. “They (also) put the ball in the right spots and we didn’t respond.
“In set five, our offensive attack was weak.”
The Wildcats fought back from a 5-1 deficit to force a 10-10 deadlock in the final set.
The teams were tied twice more until the Rangers took the last two points – one on a tip by Gregerson – to claim the set and match.
“Our defense was very good,” Paciero said after her team recorded 78 digs, 16 by Rebecca Roembke. “We had a good nose for the ball tonight.”
Yoder said his young Wildcats didn’t get too confident after winning the first two sets.
“We always respect an opponents’ ability to come back,” he said. “That happens a lot in the game of volleyball.
“We just got out of whack.”
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is email@example.com.