A volleyball exhibition to remember: Northern Michigan University, Central Michigan meet Saturday to mark 50th anniversary of Title IX

Northern Michigan University volleyball players on the court, including setter Caylie Barlage in green jersey at center, huddle up between points during a match last fall played at Vandament Arena in Marquette. (Photo courtesy NMU)

On Saturday: NMU faces CMU in a volleyball exhibition at noon

on Mackinac Island


MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University volleyball team plays a rather unique and what should prove to be historic match to open its season on Saturday afternoon.

In what is considered an exhibition — it won’t count on the Wildcats’ win-loss record — NMU faces NCAA Division I Central Michigan with the match to be played on Mackinac Island.

The match starts at noon at the Mackinac Island Public Schools Gymnasium.

Northern Michigan University's Caylie Barlage just misses keeping the ball in play during the second set of the Wildcats' GLIAC volleyball match against Saginaw Valley State on Oct. 1 at Vandament Arena in Marquette. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

Both schools said when the match was announced in June that this is a way to draw attention to the 50th anniversary of the federal Title IX program that has proven to open up many possibilities for women in sports during the past half century.

Possibilities like playing women’s collegiate volleyball.

Each of NMU’s three All-GLIAC players from last fall’s squad return this season.

Junior Jacqueline Smith was named to the conference First Team after finishing third in the league in kills, both per set (3.77) and in actual total (381). She also led the league in total attacks with 1,155 and was fourth for NMU in hitting percentage at .182 in 2021.

Second Teamers Lizzy Stark, a senior, and Meghan Meyer, a sophomore, followed Smith in kills for the Wildcats. Stark was second with 298 and Meyer third with 218.

They were in the same position in total attacks with 844 and 508, respectively, just after Smith.

And Meyer led NMU in hitting percentage at .281 while Stark was second in digs with 251.

The Wildcats’ season ended last November in the GLIAC Tournament quarterfinals when they lost in three sets at No. 2 seed Ferris State, 25-16, 25-22, 25-23, to finish the season at 12-15 overall and 7-8 in GLIAC matches.

Despite their different NCAA divisions, Northern and CMU have met nine times in the past, mostly during the days when the Chippewas were members of NCAA D-2 like the Wildcats. Their most recent meeting was in 1982 at the Central Michigan Open.

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


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today