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Wildcats spikers salvage split on final day in Indianapolis

MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University volleyball team split a pair of matches Saturday to salvage a 1-3 weekend at the University of Indianapolis Invitational.

The Wildcats took on a pair of teams that received votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 poll in Saint Leo and Gannon universities.

NMU fell to Saint Leo in four sets before bouncing back for a sweep of Gannon.

Saint Leo prevailed in its match 25-21, 22-25, 25-23, 25-20.

Northern took an 8-2 lead to open the match before Saint Leo came back in the first set.

NMU also took a 20-15 lead in Set 2 before the Lions tied it 22-22. The Wildcats then scored the final three points — a kill by freshman Abigail Durecki and two by sophomore Hailey Wickstrom of Calumet — for a victory. Each point was assisted by freshman Lauren Van Remortel.

NMU won its match against Gannon 26-24, 28-26, 25-18.

Northern trailed 24-22 in the first set before a pair of Gannon attack errors tied it, then Wickstrom and Durecki converted kill attempts to win it.

In the second set, Gannon scored five straight points to take a 25-24 lead, but Durecki and Wickstrom combining for a block tied it, then after another Gannon point, Northern senior Sarah Kuehn made back-to-back kills as senior Gabriela Martinez served an ace to end it.

Sophomore Lizzy Stark paced NMU’s offense with 31 kills between the two matches. Durecki added 20 and hit .390, while Wickstrom had 18 kills and Kuehn 15.

Van Remortel totaled 79 assists and tied for the team lead with Martinez with three aces. Sophomore Alli Yacko had two aces.

Sophomore Lauren Caprini led the defense with 38 digs as Stark had 21 and Van Remortel 19.

At the net, Durecki tallied a team-best 11 blocks, while Wickstrom had six and Stark five.

The Wildcats (3-5) enter conference play with three GLIAC road matches during the next week. NMU goes to the Grand Rapids area to face Grand Valley State at 7 p.m. Friday and Davenport at 2 p.m. Saturday, then returns to the Upper Peninsula and goes to Houghton to play Michigan Tech at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.