ASHLAND, Oh. The Northern Michigan University Volleyball team advances to the Great Lake Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Semifinals after defeating Ashland University 3-2 in the GLIAC Quarterfinals.
TAKING THE FIRST
The Eagles were able to take a large lead in the first set, jumping out 10-3 but the Wildcats roared back to eventually tie the set at 20-20 with an ace from sophomore Lauren Caprini (St. Charles, Ill.).
Freshman Lauren Van Remortel (Carmel, Ind.) answered a kill with her own kill to tie it at 21-21, then Ashland added two points to take a 23-21 lead. Sophomore Lizzy Stark (Minneapolis, Minn.) narrowed the gap with a kill, and an attack error from the Eagles tied the score again, 23-23. The hosts then committed two more errors to give NMU a 25-23 first set win.
A late run by the Eagles gave Ashland a 25-20 second set win to tie the match but the Wildcats bounced back to win the third set.
NMU jumped to a 4-1 lead but the Eagles rallied to take a 13-11 lead. Freshman Abigail Durecki (South Lyon, Mich.) got a kill to make it 13-12, which preceded three consecutive errors from AU followed by kills from sophomores Hailey Wickstrom (Calumet, Mich.) and Alyssa Milski (Oregon, Wis.) to make it 17-13.
After a point from Ashland, Durecki had another kill before senior Sarah Kuehn (Green Bay, Wis.) followed an Eagle kill with a kill of her own. Ashland committed an error to make it 20-15 but then scored three points to decrease the NMU lead to 20-18.
Van Remortel got a kill before an Ashland point then Stark smashed back to back kills to move the lead up to 23-19. The Eagles scored again but Durecki got the score to 24-20 then Stark answered two points from the hosts with a kill to give NMU a 25-22 set win and a 2-1 lead in the match.
WINNING IN FIVE
Ashland was able to take the fourth set and force the match into a deciding set. In the fifth set, the teams traded points until it was 3-3. The Eagles then committed two errors followed by three straight kills by Stark and an ace by Van Remortel which gave the Wildcats a 10-3 lead.
After AU narrowed the lead to 10-8, Wickstrom and Kuehn each got a kill before an error gave Ashland a point. Wickstrom and Kuehn went back to back again to make it 14-9. Ashland finished the match with an error to give NMU the 15-9 set win and a 3-2 match victory.
Stark led the team with 19 kills while Durecki and Kuehn both added 16. Wickstrom chipped into the effort with 10 kills. Van Remortel and Milski tallied six each.
Van Remortel also set a career high with 60 assists and notched two aces.
Sophomore Alli Yacko (Oak Lawn, Ill.) paced the defense with 20 digs. Stark posted 17 digs and Caprini had 16. Van Remortel finished with 12 digs.
Durecki led the net defense with five blocks on the night while Wickstrom and Stark both had two.
The Wildcats will now advance to the GLIAC Semifinals and will take on rival Michigan Technological University Saturday at Ferris State University.