DUNBAR, Wis. - All week long Coach Dave Herron reminded his Northland International University women's volleyball team about the result of a previous match with Finlandia University.
"We played them in Houghton and it was absolutely the worst match of the year for us," Herron said of Oct. 1 match. "I simply recalled for the team our stat line from that match. We had 146 swings with 30 kills and 30 errors.
"We hit .000. If we were a baseball player we would have been traded the next day or sent to the minors."
The reminder seemed to work as NIU took a convincing 3-0 (25-17, 25-10, 25-21) victory.
The team claimed 16-9 and 18-11 leads on solid serving (2 aces) and very productive offense hitting for a .259 percent. The defense was great with 14 digs. Marissa Hawley had 6 kills in the first set.
Set two saw NIU continue to dominate with an 18-10 lead while the offense hit .364 percent to go along with 3 aces. Hawley had 4 kills and Valerie Stauff added 2 more.
Set three started with NIU getting a 12-5 lead and then hold on as FIU closed it to 14-11. Hanna Cole served from 14-11 to 23-11 as she rolled up 6 aces. A series of passing and hitting errors let Finlandia close the score to 24-21 and then Marissa Hawley let her team know she wanted the ball and ended the match with a swing at OH to win 25-21.
Olivia Smith evened out the offense and kept the Lion defense off balance. Smith had 9 assists in this set alone. Liz Humberg was the best defensive player with 12 digs for the match along with Melody Spooner who had 9.
The team now prepares for the NCCAA Midwest Regional Tournament at Moody in Chicago on Nov. 1-2.
Captain Valerie Stauff commented, "We worked really hard to be successful this year and get a good seed. We got the third seed and feel we are in a good position. We play Grace (Friday at 12:30) and that is all we are thinking about."
NIU ends its regular season at 20-7.