’Cats end season; prepared for playoffs

Karly Ratzenberger

The ’Cats volleyball team finished up their regular season play last weekend. NMU finished 1-2 against Wayne State University (2-3), University of Findlay (3-0) and Hillsdale College (0-3).

Senior outside hitter Emma Wolfe said she had mixed feelings about the team’s overall performance last weekend.

Wolfe said while they performed well against Findlay, the team did not play to their potential against Wayne State and Hillsdale.

“The team could have played a little bit better against Wayne State and Hillsdale,” Wolfe said. “We played really well against Findlay, though.”

Head coach Dominic Yoder said the team was ready for the matches, but they needed work on their serve receive and defense. He said the team hit a bit of a snag on Friday in the attacking category.

“The team was well prepared but did not perform well in serve receive on Friday nor defense on Sunday,” Yoder said. “Attacking was slightly off on Friday; Saturday, however, the team served very aggressive and blocked very well on Friday and Saturday.”

Hillsdale is currently No. 1 in the South Division with a GLIAC record of 18-1. Wolfe said there are a few things the team will need to work on before it can face Hillsdale again, primarily he team’s defensive play and hitting.

“We will definitely need to work on defending against the middle attack for Hillsdale and work on hitting different shots for the offense,” Wolfe said.

Yoder said the level of play last weekend was not easy. As the regular season came to a close, the remaining teams were still fighting for a spot in the tournament.

“Competition last weekend was very tough,” Yoder said. “Both Findlay and Wayne State were fighting to get into the GLIAC Tournament; beating us allowed Wayne State to get into the tournament. Hillsdale is ranked eighth in the Nation.”

The Wildcats’ match against Findlay was Senior Day. Senior libero/defensive specialist Becca Fuerherd and senior defensive specialist/left side hitter Catherine Waybright and Wolfe were honored before the match.
Wolfe said the energy in the gym made it a senior day to remember.

“The energy was amazing during the Findlay match, and it helped so much,” Wolfe said. “It was such a fun match to play in, and it was a great Senior Day match.”

Last weekend’s athletic events were part of the NMU Pink Experience. The Wildcat’s match against Findlay was the volleyball team’s chance to support the fight for a cure.

Wolfe has a personal tie with breast cancer as her grandmother fought it off not once, but twice.

“Participating in the Pink Experience is great; it is such a great cause to play for,” Wolfe said. “My grandma had breast cancer twice and fought through it all.”

The ’Cats sported pink jerseys in the Pink Experience match and held a silent auction after the match in which fans could bid on the jerseys.

The proceeds from the auction will help to contribute to buying equipment for the hospital.

The Wildcats finished third in the North Division with an overall GLIAC record of 12-7. The team will be participating in the GLIAC tournament in Ashland, Ohio.

Wolfe said the team is eager to play in the GLIAC tournament and has high hopes for the Wildcats’s performance.

“Everyone is excited to be playing in the tournament,” Wolfe said. “We made it last year and lost in the second round to Grand Valley last year. This tournament determines if we get into the NCAA tournament so it’s huge for us.”

Yoder said the competition in the tournament will be the hardest the ’Cats have had to face so far.

“We are all equal at this point in the season,” Yoder said. “The regular season does not matter. It is up the good play from this point on.”

The ’Cats will be playing in the GLIAC Tournament quarterfinal at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10. Opponent to be determined.