NMU splits on road, ends undefeated run

By Journal Sports Staff

MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University volleyball team suffered its first loss of the season at Saginaw Valley State on Saturday afternoon, ending a weekend two-match road trip with a split.

The Cardinals defeated NMU in four sets, 14-25, 28-26, 25-21, 29-27, as the Wildcats’ record fell to 9-1 overall and 1-1 in the GLIAC.

On Friday evening, Northern felled Lake Superior State in five sets, 29-27, 25-21, 21-25, 20-25, 15-12.

The 9-0 start after Friday’s match was the best by NMU since 2010, when the Wildcats came out of the gates 17-0 and eventually qualified for the NCAA Division II tournament.

NMU returns home for another GLIAC match against Upper Peninsula rival Michigan Tech at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The match will be televised by Fox-U.P.

Saginaw Valley St. 3, NMU 1

At University Center on Saturday, junior Sarah Kuehn led NMU’s offense with 13 kills, while sophomore Leticia Antunes added 12 and senior Maggie Liebeck 11.

Senior Lynzi Svoboda had 43 assists and led the team with five block assists, Kuehn and sophomore Cierra Martinez had four blocks assists each. Seniors Autumn Monsma and Jessica Skonning had two service aces apiece.

Senior Rachel Braunschweig posted 28 digs to lead the defense as Antunes added 17 and freshman Alli Yacko 13.

In the first set, NMU broke an 8-8 tie with nine straight points served by Skonning that featured three kills by Antunes and two by Martinez.

The second set was tied a number of times as SVSU (7-3, 1-1) won it following a pair of Northern errors on attacks.

The third set was also close, with the final tie at 20-20 before the Cardinals rattled off five of the final six points, which included service, setting and attack errors by NMU.

SVSU jumped out quickly in the final set, but NMU fought back as there were 12 ties down the stretch before a kill by the Cards’ Sarah Tabit and an NMU attack error ended it.

NMU 3, L. Superior St. 2

At Sault Ste. Marie on Friday, Antunes led Northern with 18 kills and 21 digs, while Monsma added 17 kills and 19 digs. Liebeck chipped in with nine kills, while Svoboda posted 38 assists and 10 digs.

Braunschweig made 20 digs and Kuehn had four blocks with Antunes and Liebeck getting three blocks apiece.

After NMU led early in the opening set, LSSU (1-8, 0-1) reeled off five straight points to take a 12-8 lead. The Wildcats stayed in it, remaining within two points most of the rest of the way until at 27-27 they scored back-to-back points on Lakers’ service and attack errors to win it.

Northern opened a sizable lead in the second set only to have LSSU narrow the gap but never catch all the way up.

The Lakers began their comeback in the third set, undoing NMU’s 21-20 lead with the final five points, four on attack and setting errors by the Wildcats. The fourth set was similar, with Northern leading 18-17 before Lake State won eight of the final 10 points.

Then in the deciding fifth set, the Wildcats never trailed, though they couldn’t get ahead by more than two points until a kill by Monsma and a Lakers attack error put them up 13-10. The match ended on an Antunes kill.

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