Wildcats ready for NCAA tournament


The NMU volleyball team may have taken a pummeling in the semifinals of the GLIAC Volleyball Tournament, but they have been given another chance to continue the season in the NCAA regional tournament.

On Nov. 14, the Wildcats (19-11 overall, 11-5 GLIAC) were defeated by Saginaw Valley (21-9, 12-4 GLIAC) in three sets with set scores of 25-20, 25-17, and 25-15. Emma Wolfe and Amy Andersen-Goldsworthy led the ‘Cats in kills with nine and eight respectively.

NMU head coach Dominic Yoder said Saginaw was able to overcome the Wildcats by breaking down their offensive game plan.

“I think Saginaw Valley did to us what we try to do to every opponent: serve them very tough and try to break down their serve reception. When your serve reception breaks down it’s very hard for any kind of offense to have any continuity, and Saginaw Valley did that very well against us,” he said.

Yoder also said it feels great to have gotten this far in the season, and that it has been one of the team’s goals from the beginning to get into the NCAA tournament.

“This is two years in a row that we’ve made it to the NCAA tournament so we want to compete now and make it past the first round. I think that’s the next step in our season progression,” he said.

Several Wildcats were named to the All-GLIAC Volleyball team for their efforts during the regular season. Mandie Meyer and Andersen-Goldsworthy were selected to the first team, Cassie Osiecki was selected to the second team and Katt Garvick was named as an honorable mention.

Andersen-Goldsworthy said she considers it a great honor to be named to the All-GLIAC team, and that she is proud of her fellow-named teammates as well.

“I went from being non-starter last year to getting recognized by the coaches in our conference as one of the top players in our conference, which feels great,” she said.

The Wildcats have been chosen as the fourth seed for the NCAA Division II Midwest Region Women’s Volleyball Championships which will be held Nov. 19-21 in Indianapolis, Ind. The team will play the Hillsdale College Chargers (23-7 overall, 12-4 GLIAC) Nov. 19 at 5 p.m.

The ‘Cats defeated Hillsdale 3-1 during their only regular season meet on Sep. 26. Andersen-Goldsworthy said the team feels confident that they can defeat Hillsdale if they work as hard as they did last time.
“They had a good season with only four conference losses, but knowing that we beat them is good,” she said.

Hillsdale is coming off of a high note after winning the GLIAC Championship game against Saginaw Valley, but Yoder said the team is expecting the match to be intense.

“I think they’re going to be confident; they just won the conference championship so I think they’re motivated, they want to do well in the regional tournament,” he said.
Yoder also said the team wants to force Hillsdale out of their element and break down their offense.

“I think we’re going to go in with the same strategy we went in the first time playing them and that is just to serve aggressive and attack them in certain areas which we felt were their weakness and really force them to have to do something different,” he said.