MARQUETTE - The Northern Michigan University volleyball team finished its regular season home slate on a positive note Tuesday with a three-set, 25-15, 25-17 and 25-14, win over Upper Peninsula-rival Michigan Tech at Vandament Arena.
The Wildcats (19-8 overall, 12-2 in the GLIAC) also swept the Huskies (9-17 overall, 5-9 GLIAC) earlier in the season in Houghton in three sets.
"I thought we executed the game plan well," NMU senior Lina Lopes said. "Our goal was to win 3-0, and that's what happened."
Northern Michigan University freshman Meghan Supple, center, prepares to receive a serve against Michigan Tech on Tuesday at Vandament Arena in Marquette. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
NMU head coach Dominic Yoder said the Wildcats played with consistency and although he would like to see crisper serving, that the offense was clicking.
"I really appreciate what Kellisha (Harley) has done for us as a senior and her ability to lead our offense," Yoder said.
Harley led the Wildcats with 29 assists and also tacked on four kills of her own. NMU senior Kalli Herron recorded 10 kills, followed by senior Sarah Hamilton with nine and sophomore Alexis Nelson with seven.
Defensively, Wildcats' sophomore Alex Berger had a team-high 14 digs for the and Lopes had 11. Nelson led in blocks with one solo and four block assists.
For the Huskies, junior Shelby Jones posted four blocks and senior Madeline Haben had 12 assists. Sophomore Jacqueline Aird had 11 digs while freshman Kendall Ward and junior Kienna Sharp had two block assists each for Tech.
"We knew we had a lot on our plate with Northern," Michigan Tech head coach Matt Jennings said. "They're particularly strong this year and there's a lot to be proud of over here in Marquette."
Jennings said Tech is in the process of rebuilding their program, and he hopes to take something positive away from Tuesday's match.
As for the schools' rivalry, neither team was disappointed. Jennings said he considers it as healthy of a rivalry as he has ever seen.
"Matt's done a really good job with that program," Yoder said of Tech.
"I think he's going to get it up and going where it'll be tough for any team to come to the U.P. to play either one of us."
The Wildcats, who sit second in the GLIAC behind Grand Valley State, now hit the road for two final weekends of regular season play, beginning Friday with a match at Hillsdale and Saturday at Northwood.
Yoder said the four upcoming matches are critical for the Wildcats' chances to win the GLIAC Championship.
"We're right there," Yoder said. "I think we have a really good shot at it, but we've got to go out there and win points."
Lopes said the 'Cats hope this match will not be the team's last opportunity to play at home and said their sights are set on hosting the tournament.
"I just want the whole team to stay focused because we really need to win all these games and then stay on top of the conference," Lopes said.