NMU Volleyball opens Keweenaw Classic with tight win over Minnesota State

Smith and Stark lead offense
 (NMU Graphic)
(NMU Graphic) (WLUC)
Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 8:58 PM EDT
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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - It was a matchup of two teams receiving votes in the AVCA Division II Coaches Top 25 Women’s Poll as Northern Michigan University volleyball opened the season with a 3-2 victory over Minnesota State University-Mankato at the Keweenaw Classic hosted by Michigan Technological University.


The Mavericks got the first point on the board in the opening frame but a 4-0 run, kickstarted by a Lauren Van Remortel assisted Meghan Meyer kill, put NMU on top 4-1.

The Wildcats held the lead until Minnesota State-Mankato was able to tie the set at 13-13. The Mavericks were able to take the lead at 17-15.

After an NMU timeout, the Wildcats took their lead back using another 4-0 run. The streak began with a Lizzy Stark kill, assisted by Van Remortel, followed by two Stark service aces, and a Minnesota State-Mankato error

In late set one action, the teams found themselves tied at 26-all. Strong defensive play and two Maverick errors gave NMU the 28-26 set victory.


A 6-0 Minnesota State-Mankato run began the second set’s action, but the Wildcats fought back.

At 14-13, freshman Caylie Barlage notched a service ace to pull NMU even with the Mavericks.

The teams exchanged scores for a period to get the scoreboard at 17-all. A 7-0 Minnesota State-Mankato run followed and got the Mavericks to a 24-14 set point.

NMU fought back and was able to cut the score to 25-24 thanks to three Stark service aces and a handful of opponents’ errors.

Minnesota State-Mankato was able to earn the set point after the Wildcat run and took the second frame victory 24-19.


After falling in the second set the Wildcats turned the tide in the third.

The set scoring opened with a Mavericks’ error followed by a kill from Jacqueline Smith on an assist from Julia Bouma.

Never trailing after that point, NMU used two 3-0 runs and a solid offensive attack to win the set 25-17.


A total of 12 ties occurred in the fourth set as Minnesota State-Mankato fought to force a set five and the Wildcats fought to earn a match win.

The Mavericks found separation late in the set as they used a 5-0 run to go from tied at 19 to up 24-19. NMU fought the run with a Meyer kill and earned a point off a Minnesota State-Mankato error but it was not enough.

Set five was forced by a 25-21 Mavericks’ win.


The winner-takes-all fifth set was in favor of the Wildcats in the early going.

Up 7-5, the team went on a 7-0 run to put themselves at the match point. The run was kicked off by an Olivia Webber kill and also included a Madeline Crowley and Smith block.

The Mavericks rallied back with five consecutive points to pull within four at 14-10.

In the end, the Wildcats took home the set and the match when a Jacqueline Smith kill from Lauren Van Remortel gave the final frame 15-10 to NMU.


Smith led the team and match with 21 kills. Stark was close behind with 21. Meyer also notched double-digit kills with 13 to her name.

Of players with double-digit kills, Meyer led the match with a .321 percentage.

Three Wildcats had digs in double figures: Stark (17), Bouma (12), and Van Remortel (10).

The NMU block party was alive and well in Houghton as six players contributed block assists to the team effort.


Day two of the Keweenaw Classic sees the Wildcats take on St. Cloud State University at 9:30 a.m. and Concordia-St. Paul at 2:30 p.m. All games of the classic are played on the campus of Michigan Technological University.

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