MARQUETTE - The Northern Michigan University volleyball team entered the weekend in a three-way conference tie with GLIAC opponents Grand Valley State and Ferris State, but fell to third place on Friday in a three-set 25-23, 25-21, 25-22 loss to the Lakers at Vandament Arena.
The Wildcats (17-4 overall, 10-2 in GLIAC) face Ferris State (18-5, 11-1) at 4 p.m. today in another GLIAC battle at Vandament.
"It really came down to a couple unforced errors here and there, a couple plays that we didn't make where they made," head coach Dominic Yoder said.
The first set was close through its entirety, with the score tied six separate times. However, the 'Cats were never able to regain the lead after the first point of the set.
NMU and GVSU (20-3, 11-1) traded the lead several times in the second set, and the Lakers were never more than four points ahead of the Wildcats. NMU tied it up at 21-21 before the Lakers scored four unanswered points to close out the set.
In the third and final set, Northern lost the lead before hitting double digits and again was unable to close the small but steady gap.
"That's how good teams win," Yoder said. "You consistently make the plays and unfortunately they made more of them than we did."
Senior Sarah Hamilton had a big game for the Wildcats, recording 12 kills and a kill percentage of .423. Kalli Herron and Lina Lopes recorded nine and seven kills, respectively.
Senior Kellisha Harley led in assists with 30, while sophomore Alex Berger had a team-high 15 digs for the Wildcats.
The Bulldogs, who won their match at Michigan Tech on Friday in four sets, are now tied with GVSU atop the conference. Yoder said the 'Cats will need to keep their energy high to defeat Ferris State.
"It's always about the next day when it comes to our conference, because anybody can beat anybody in our conference," Yoder said.
Saturday is also Senior Day for the Wildcats, who will recognize Harley, Hamilton, Lopes, Herron and Suzanne Solin prior to the match.
Delaney Lovett can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org