Volleyball struggles continue in the Upper Peninsula

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The SVSU volleyball team’s early season struggles continued as it traveled to the Upper Peninsula over the weekend. The Cardinals fell to 1-9 on the season following a 3-1 loss to Northern Michigan and a 3-0 loss to Michigan Tech.

Against Northern on Friday, Sept. 16, SVSU played a close first set, falling 25-21. The teams were neck and neck early, but the Wildcats began to pull away in the middle of the set, stifling any SVSU comeback threats.

Northern continued to pour it on in the second set, dominating SVSU by a score of 25-7. SVSU did pick up a third-set win, but it ultimately fell in the fourth set to end the match.

For the Cardinals, sophomore outside-hitter Sarah Tabit led the team with 13 kills and nine digs. Redshirt freshman middle-hitter Emily Friesl added five. She also had three block assists.

“(Friesl) has started asserting herself on offense, and that has made a difference for us,” head coach Will Stanton said. “But of course, as we get into conference play, the intensity level ramps up, and then you really need your older players to lead the way in handling that pressure and environment.”

Freshman middle-hitter Haley Clum had a solo block and two assists. Senior libero Emily Nieman contributed 14 digs of her own. SVSU’s hitting percentage was just .086 compared to Northern’s .258.

“The last few weekends have really exposed the holes that we have in our ball control and offense,” Stanton said. “We’ve been working to be a more consistent team in those areas.”

The struggles continued for the Cardinals on Saturday as it dropped three straight sets to Michigan Tech. The team played close in all three, but the Huskies pulled away in each en route to a 25-17, 25-15, 25-17 win.

Tabit again led the team with 13 kills and also added three digs. Friesl added eight kills and a dig. Overall, the team’s hitting percentage was .108 compared to Michigan Tech’s .425.

“Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech are such different teams that it is difficult to prepare for both of them effectively,” Stanton said. “It’s mostly about our side of the net right now.”

The team will be busy again this week as it travels to Lake Superior State Tuesday, Sept. 19. The Cardinals then have a four-game home stand against Tiffin and Ashland on Friday, Sept. 22, and Saturday, Sept. 23.