SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Northern Michigan University Volleyball came back from an 8-2 deficit in the fifth set to defeat University of Illinois-Springfield and go 4-0 in the Capital Classic.
The Wildcats captured the first set 25-19 and won the second set 26-24. However, the Prairie Stars rebounded and won the third set 25-21 and the fourth set 25-22 to send it to a deciding fifth set.
In the final set, the hosts jumped out early and held an 8-2 lead when the teams switched sides. NMU fought back and eventually tied the set at 10-10 when the teams exchanged service errors and the score was tied again at 11-11. Senior Autumn Monsma (Grand Haven, Mich.) and sophomore Leticia Antunes (Florianopolis, Brazil/Colegio Ofelia Fonseca) hit back to back kills to pull NMU ahead 13-11.
After UIS scored, Antunes notched another kill to make it 14-12. On the next point NMU suffered an attack error and made the score 14-13. Senior Maggie Liebeck (Luxemburg, Wis./Luxemburg-Casco) then smashed the game-winning kill to give NMU the 15-13 set win and the 3-2 match victory.
Liebeck finished the match with a team high 20 kills and finished the weekend with 53 kills on a .404 hitting percentage. Antunes added 17 kills for the match. Junior Sarah Kuehn (Green Bay, Wis./De Pere) chipped in with 15 kills while Monsma posted 14.
Senior Lynzi Svoboda (Minneapolis, Minn. /Minneapolis Southwest) finished the match with a career-high 59 assists. Antunes contributed three aces on the night while seniors Rachel Braunschweig (Alamo, Calif. / San Ramon Valley) and Jessica Skonning (LaGrange, Ill./Lyons Township) both had two.
Defensively, Braunschweig paced the team with 20 digs. Antunes and Monsma aided the effort with 15 digs each. At the net, Kuehn finished with eight total blocks.
With the win, NMU improves to 4-0 on the season. They will return to action and host the Wildcat Open Friday and Saturday in Vandament Arena. Friday afternoon the Wildcats take on University of Minnesota-Crookston then follow it with University of Minnesota-Duluth that evening. On Saturday, NMU hosts St. Cloud State University and Bemidji State University.