The Ashland University volleyball team lost a tight match to visiting Northern Michigan on Wednesday (Nov. 20) night in the GLIAC Tournament quarterfinal at Kates Gymnasium in five sets, 25-23, 20-25, 25-22, 21-25, 15-9.
The loss leaves the Eagles (24-7) waiting for Monday when they will find out their NCAA Tournament fate. They started the day ranked No. 7 in the Midwest Region rankings. The top eight teams will receive bids to the national bracket when the field is announced.
The night started great for Ashland which jumped out to a 10-2 lead, primarily on the serve of sophomore libero Sophie Dahn. The success did not last, though, as the Wildcats (13-15) fought back to eventually tie it at 20.
The Eagles responded to take a 23-21 lead, but the Wildcats scored the next four points on a kill and three hitting errors by the Eagles.
The Eagles never trailed in the second set as they appeared to settle into the match. It was AU's best hitting set of the night, clicking at a .303 rate
Ashland had a 13-11 lead in the third set, but NMU scored the next six points and did not trail after that to take a 2-1 lead going into the fourth.
Northern Michigan trimmed Ashland's 20-14 lead down to 23-21 in Set 4, but a kill by senior Sophi Cudworth and an NMU error sent the match to a fifth.
Ashland took a 3-2 lead in the decisive set, but the Wildcats rallied for a 7-0 run, getting three kills from Lizzy Stark. The Eagles battled back to 10-8, but Northern Michigan clinched the set by scoring five of the last six points.
Sophomore setter Zoey Peck had a double-double with 43 assists and 15 digs.
Stark led the Wildcats with 19 kills and 17 digs.