Volleyball Falls Shy in Upset Bid at No. 25 Northern Michigan

MARQUETTE, Mich. –After falling by two points in the pivotal third set, Ohio Dominican's volleyball team fell 3-1 (20-25, 25-21, 23-25, 14-25) to No. 25 Northern Michigan Friday night in GLIAC action.

The Panthers fell to 9-7 overall and 3-6 in GLIAC play, while the Wildcats moved to 9-6 (7-2 GLIAC).

A match that featured a total of 27 ties and 13 lead changes was deadlocked at a set a piece entering the third frame. ODU battled back from a 15-11 deficit with five straight points, as Brianna Reder, Rachel Billing and Tara Winner each had a kill and Meredith Shifley added an ace. The Panthers stretched their lead to 21-18 on three consecutive Wildcat attack errors, but NMU bounced back with five straight tallies of its own. Caitlin Kusan and Bailey Barker had kills to keep ODU in it at 24-23, but the Wildcats closed the set with a kill to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

In the fourth and final set, NMU built a 10-5 lead and eventually led by as many as 12 points as the Panthers hit -.080 in the frame, compared to .483 for the Wildcats.

Northern Michigan grabbed control of the match early, taking a 17-12 advantage in the opening set. The Panthers, though, displayed their resiliency and came back and cut the deficit to 20-18. Winner tacked on a kill to bring the Panthers within a point at 21-20, but NMU scored the final four points of the frame to take the set.

The second set was competitive throughout, featuring 12 ties and six lead changes. After NMU grabbed a 6-3 lead early, the difference was no more than two points until the Panthers closed on a big surge. Knotted at 19, ODU scored three straight on a kill by Barker, a block from Kusan and Reder and a kill by Billing. Kusan had an ace to make it 24-20, and Reder sealed the Panther comeback with a kill.

For the match, ODU hit .161, compared to .297 for the Wildcats, as Sami Vierk hit .528 with 21 kills to lead all players. Billing paced the Panthers with 14 kills and Winner had nine in 17 attempts to lead the ODU offense. Kelsey Snyder had 21 assists and Stacy Rogg 17 digs to lead the Panthers in those categories.

ODU closes its road swing through the Upper Peninsula with a 4 p.m. match Saturday against Michigan Tech.

Contact: Scott Miles
miless@ohiodominican.edu