‘Cats spike Ferris, advance to GLIAC semis


Every single win means one more chance to play for the Northern Michigan volleyball Wildcats.

On Wednesday night, the team made sure that it would be playing for at least one more game.

With a 3-0 (30-20, 31-29, 30-22) victory over Ferris State in the quarterfinals of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament, NMU earned a semifinal date with the No. 7 Grand Valley Lakers on Nov. 10.

With the victory, the Wildcats (20-11 overall, 13-5 GLIAC)achieved a season-long goal: they made it through their schedule without losing a match at home (9-0).

NMU’s offensive players performed very well for the ‘Cats against Ferris, head coach Dominic Yoder said.

Junior hitter Caryn VanBeckum led the ‘Cats with 16 kills on 31 attempts (.355) while sophomore Katt Garvick stood tall on the left side, with 14 kills on 32 attempts (.344).

Senior Brittany McGowan also dished out 38 assists in the quarterfinals.

“One of our strengths is to attack the middle so that’s what we did,” Yoder said. “Kat Garvick really stepped up and gave us a threat on the left side, which eased the load on our middles, but our middles did an outstanding job as well.”

On defense, Breanne Zaremba led the ‘Cats with 14 digs. Sophomore Aimee Mohr stepped up to contribute 11 digs for the ‘Cats

Cassie Osiecki added 11 digs and has now surpassed former Wildcat Meaghan Kimball for most digs in a season. Osiecki currently has 515 digs in the 2007 season, while Kimball collected 511 in 2002.

The Wildcats have worked harder than usual this week in order to perform well in the quarterfinals, the players said.

“We worked our butts off in practice these last few days to accomplish this and I’m proud of my teammates,” Garvick said.

Over 400 Wildcat fans saw that hard work pay off on the court on Wednesday night.

“A lot of people showed up,” Mohr said. “It was great because they gave off a lot of good energy for us.”

Yoder was also grateful for the support his team has received this year.

“The fans were absolutely outstanding here in Marquette, and that is one of the reasons why I love coaching at Northern,” Yoder said.

After downing Ferris (20-10, 12-6), the Wildcats will now head into the semifinals against No. 7 Grand Valley (28-3, 17-1).

The winner of that match earns a spot in the GLIAC Championship against either Ashland (26-4, 14-3) or Hillsdale (25-6, 15-2).

Less than three weeks ago, NMU was responsible for the Lakers’ only conference loss of the year, as the Wildcats downed GVSU, 3-2, in the Vandament Arena.

The match against the Lakers is on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 4:30 p.m., while the Ashland-Hillsdale game will take place at 2 p.m. on the same day.

The winner of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (GLIAC) tournament will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA Division-II National Tournament, scheduled to kick off on November 15.