MARQUETTE - The Northern Michigan University volleyball team put a shock into their visitors from Ohio Dominican on Friday night.
The Wildcats blistered the court with unrelenting serves to break down the Panthers' serve reception for the first two sets in the GLIAC match.
OD responded fiercely by the third set, but NMU still pulled out a four-set win, 25-13, 25-22, 22-25, 25-22, to improve to 14-9 overall and 6-4 in the GLIAC.
Northern Michigan University’s Kalli Herron, left, goes for the kill as Ohio Dominican’s Lauren Kraemer (3) and Brianna Reder attempt to block at a GLIAC volleyball match held at NMU’s Vandament Arena on Friday evening in Marquette. The Wildcats won in four sets to open a home weekend that continues with a match against Tiffin at 4 p.m. today. (Journal photo by Zach Jay)
Ohio Dominican slipped to 10-11 and 4-6.
NMU head coach Dominic Yoder attributed strong attacking and not-so-strong blocking to the Wildcats' success amidst occasional stumbles.
"I thought serve reception was good, and we got good scoring out of the middle," he said.
"I thought both of our left sides played very well in the way of attacking.
"Our blocking was still a little off, but we'll figure it out and get ready to go for (today)."
Friday's victory for NMU came after a trio of losses in the GLIAC/Great Lakes Valley Conference Crossover tournament last weekend, where the 'Cats lost to Southern Indiana, Missouri-St. Louis and Lewis.
But even with those recent losses, the Wildcats started strongly against Ohio Dominican with unmatched domination.
"Our serving was really crisp and aggressive in the first set and I think we kind of shocked them a little bit," Yoder said.
"But their serve reception wasn't as strong as it was later in the set.
"I think it really came down to pass and serve on both sides of the net and they really passed well in the last three sets.
"That really put us in a pressure situation where we had to make great plays."
Northern's offense was led by Kalli Herron and Lina Lopes, each with 12 kills, while Sarah Hamilton also pitched in with nine.
Defensively, Jasmine Calhoun contributed the team's only solo block, while Kalin Zimmerman brought up 24 digs.
"Offensively, Jasmine really did a nice job," Yoder said. "I think she got a little confused in blocking, but offensively she really has turned the corner for us.
"Andree (Ring) did a great job serving for us. She scored a lot on her serve, but attacking, we've got to try to figure that out."
Ring herself felt that the match was decided by scramble plays, which there was a surplus of down the stretch as each team began to serve more strongly.
"Scramble plays, all those random touches that were going all over the place, getting those back to the court was key," Ring said. "I'm glad we finished it out and got it done when we needed to; we've been struggling with that lately."
With their first win in more than a week and only four wins in the last 11 matches, Yoder said the confidence boost from a home win will be very helpful.
"(We've got) more confidence, definitely more confidence," he said. "It's nice to finally win at home especially after those last two matches at home (losses against Wayne State and Findlay in late September)."
"It comes down to just playing, just coming out to play all 25 points."
The Panthers were led by Tory Thompson with 10 kills and seven digs. Teammate Lauren Rindler contributed eight kills and six digs, while Bailey Barker had two service aces and a team-high 15 digs.
Northern continue its home weekend today, taking on Tiffin at 4 p.m. at Vandament Arena. Tiffin entered the weekend at 7-13 and 1-9.
Amanda Monthei can be reached at 228-2500 or at firstname.lastname@example.org