Volleyball drops two over weekend

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This past weekend, the Saginaw Valley volleyball team had an unsuccessful start to this year’s GLIAC competition.

The team hosted both Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech and the Cardinals lost both matches, giving them an 0-2 GLIAC record and an overall record of 4-6.

Coming off back-to-back losses can be tough, but the players are showing optimism ahead of their Friday, Sept. 23, match on the road at Wayne State.

“After back to back losses, it’s going to be important for us not only to become more consistent, but to also have a positive attitude looking forward,” senior Andrea Brigham said. “Rather than dwelling on the losses, we need to start to prepare for the upcoming games in the GLIAC, because every match is going to be a challenge.”

The Northern Michigan Wildcats were the first opponents of the weekend, beating the Cardinals on Friday.

The Cardinals lost in the fifth set after tying the match 2-2 (25-27, 25-21, 26-24, 25-19, 15-8). The total hitting percentage for the Cardinals was .181, while the Wildcats hit .261.

The Cardinals started the game off poorly. They compiled a team hitting percentage of .068 during the first set. The team played better as the game went on, finishing the fourth set with a hitting percentage of .333, before hitting .000 in the fifth set to lose the game.

Brigham led the team in kills and total attacks with 21 and 48, respectively. She also had the highest kill percentage on the team with a .292. The senior also posted 10 digs.

Tamara Heller was second in kills and total attacks with 14 kills and 46 attacks. The junior also recorded 15 digs.

Junior Emily Nieman led the defense with 22 digs, while senior Kelly Vellucci helped the offense with a game-high 54 assists. Vellucci also helped defensively by recording two blocks and 14 digs.

McKenzie Schuster had a team-high five blocks. The junior accounted for six digs and eight kills.

“I think one thing we are struggling with right now is consistency,” Brigham said. “From match to match, different positions on the court will perform well, while others are struggling a bit.”

On Saturday, the Michigan Tech Huskies defeated the Cardinals in three straight sets (17-25, 17-25, 21-25). The team had a collective 34 kills and 19 errors.

The combined hitting percentage was .120. The Huskies tallied 43 kills and 11 errors with a .248 percentage.

The Cardinals started off the first set with a 7-2 lead, but the Huskies quickly answered with three straight points of their own. After an 11-11 tie in the first set, the Cardinals would not lead a set again until they were up 3-2 in the third set.

The Huskies dominated the second set, hitting .300 to the Cardinals .067. Michigan Tech led in the second set by as many as 10 points.

Kaylee Schmitt led the Cardinals offensively. The senior had 15 kills on 20 attempts, giving her a hitting percentage of .750. She was the lone Cardinal to record double-digit kills.

Niemen once again recorded the team-high with 15 digs. Heller had 14 digs of her own, as well as seven kills on 23 attempts.

Head coach Will Stanton was not available for comment after either match.