INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WLUC) – Northern Michigan University Volleyball took on the University of Illinois Springfield and Cedarville University on the second day of the Midwest Region Volleyball Conference Crossover and saw both matches reach five sets. NMU opened the day with a 3-2 victory over UIS but fell to Cedarville 3-2 to close out the day.
The Wildcats won the first set 26-24 over the Prairie Stars. The Wildcats were down 24-19 but closed out the set on a 7-0 run to come back and win the set. Sophomore Hailey Wickstrom (Calumet, Mich.) started the run with a kill from freshman Lauren Van Remortel (Carmel, Ind.) then teamed with senior Sarah Kuehn (Green Bay, Wis.) for a block to make it 24-21. After an ace from sophomore Lizzy Stark (Minneapolis, Minn.) Wickstrom had another kill, followed by a kill from Van Remortel to tie it at 24-24. Stark and Kuehn then both added a kill to give NMU the first set victory.
NMU dropped the second set 25-13 but rebounded by scoring the first two points in the third set and eventually pulling ahead to take a 25-16 victory. After dropping the fourth set 25-15, the teams went to a deciding fifth set.
The fifth set started with the Wildcats taking a 5-2 lead but UIS rallied to take a 7-5 lead. The teams then battled to a 10-10 tie score. After an error from the Prairie Stars, freshman Abigail Durecki (South Lyon, Mich.) had a kill, and Stark followed a UIS kill with her own to give the Wildcats a 13-11 lead. Kuehn tallied a solo block to move the team within one point victory, then an error from UIS gave NMU a 15-11 set win and a 3-2 match win.
FIVE SETS WITH CEDARVILLE
The Wildcats faced a 2-0 deficit heading into the third set but were able to win the third and fourth set to force a deciding set.
In the third set, NMU took a 7-3 lead and never looked back as they cruised to a 25-14 win. The fourth set saw the Wildcats score the first six points. The Yellow Jackets chipped away but NMU would eventually take a 17-10 lead before winning the set 25-20 with a Van Remortel kill.
NMU and Cedarville battled to a 8-8 tie to start the deciding set and NMU was able to take a 10-8 lead after a CU error and kill from Durecki. The Yellow Jackets were soon able to tie it at 11-11 but Durecki answered with a kill before a CU error gave NMU a 13-11 lead. The teams were soon tied at 14-14 and 15-15, but Cedarville managed to score the final two points to win the set 17-15 and take the match 3-2.
Durecki tallied a team high 33 kills for the day and only committed four errors on 59 attempts for a .492 hitting percentage. She also led the team with four aces.
Stark tallied 30 kills while Wickstrom and Kuehn both posted 17 kills. Van Remortel finished the day with a total of 94 assists and also had two aces.
Sophomore Alli Yacko (Oak Lawn, Ill.) led the defense with 30 digs. Stark and sophomore Lauren Caprini (St. Charles, Ill.) both had 20. Van Remortel and freshman Madeline Crowley (Green Bay, Wis.) notched 11 digs each.
Kuehn was the team's leading net protector, recording eight total blocks, including four solo blocks. Durecki, Wickstrom and Van Remortel each added five blocks.
The Wildcats will now return to Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action next weekend, as they travel to Purdue University Northwest Friday night.