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Northern Michigan University earns several top GLIAC honors in volleyball

Jacqueline Smith

BAY CITY — Northern Michigan University took away two of the top volleyball awards in the GLIAC on Thursday, the day before the conference tournament was ready to open at Saginaw Valley State University.

Jacqueline Smith was named 2021 GLIAC Freshman of the Year after her impressive first-year campaign in Marquette, while Mike Lozier was named 2021 GLIAC Coach of the Year after the Wildcats posted the best record in the league’s regular season.

This marked the first time an NMU player earned Freshman of the Year since 2010, when Lina Lopes was the winner, and the first for Northern to earn Coach of the Year since 2003, when Jim Moore took that award. That was according to a news release from NMU Sports Information.

In addition, three Wildcats were named to the GLIAC First Team, another to the Second Team and a fifth player Honorable Mention.

The three first-teamers are the most at NMU since 1998, and total of five earning honors tied a mark set in 2003.

Mike Lozier

Other top GLIAC awards included these — Player of the Year and Setter of the Year, senior Laura De Marchi of Michigan Tech; Attacker of the Year, senior Olivia Ghormley of MTU; Blocker of the Year, sophomore Jaelianna Primus of Grand Valley State; and Libero of the Year, senior Nina Gorgijevska of Ferris State.

There were 12 players each named to the First Team, Second Team and Honorable Mention.

Here are more details about the NMU honors:

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Smith top freshman

Lauren Van Remortel

Smith finished the regular season with 193 kills, averaging 4.02 kills per set. She led the GLIAC for the majority of the year in kills and kills per set, finishing second in both categories.

Smith, of St. Germain, Wisconsin, was named GLIAC North Player of the Week in early March, the first weekly honor of her career. She also had the kill that won the final match of the regular season for NMU against Michigan Tech last weekend, which clinched the conference’s best record.

She notched eight kills-and-digs double-doubles and hit the 20-kill mark three times during the season.

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Lozier best coach

Meghan Meyer

Lozier led NMU, currently ranked No. 20 in NCAA Division II by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, to a 12-2 record in the regular season. After dropping their first match, the Wildcats won 11 straight matches, including every contest in March. The streak included a four-match run of 3-0 sweeps from March 12-20.

He also had student-athletes finish in the top five of kills per set, kills, hitting percentage, digs per set, digs, service aces per set, and assists per set in the GLIAC regular season.

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3 on First Team

Joining Smith on the All-GLIAC First Team are Northern sophomore Lauren Van Remortel and freshman Meghan Meyer.

Van Remortel, the Wildcats’ setter, started all 55 sets this season and averaged 11 assists per set, tying her for second in the GLIAC. The Carmel, Indi

ana, native racked up 605 assists over 14 matches. She added 1.76 digs per set along with 16 total blocks this season.

Meyer, a middle blocker, is hitting a team- and GLIAC-high .411 on the season with 107 kills, or 2.33 per set. She also leads the Wildcats in blocks with 34.

The freshman from downstate Ada racked up five double-digit kill outings during the regular season. Defensively, she posted a team-high 34 total blocks, with 10 of those solo.

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More NMU honorees

Two NMU juniors also earned All-GLIAC honors — Lizzy Stark made the Second Team for the second year in a row, while Alli Yacko was named Honorable Mention.

Stark notched five kills-and-digs double-doubles this season. The outside hitter from Minneapolis was second on the team in kills with 179, or 3.25 per set, and was third in digs with 145, which equated to 2.64 per set. She also added 13 total blocks and four service aces.

Yacko, the libero for NMU, was second in the GLIAC in digs with 259 and fifth in digs per set at 4.71. The Oak Lawn, Illinois, native had 13 service aces and 34 assists, second-most on the team in those categories.

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

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