’Cats picked third in GLIAC preseason poll

Ray Bressette

The women’s volleyball team was picked to finish third out of eight in the GLIAC preseason coaches poll.

NW File Photo
NW File Photo

Head coach Dominic Yoder said the coaches in the GLIAC see how much talent NMU has heading into this year.

“After losing so many key players, I was a little bit surprised,” Yoder said. “I’m happy that our coaches look to our program and see us at such a high level, and I really think we’re at that level.

“We had great leadership the last few years with our previous seniors and they’ve passed that leadership down to this year’s seniors and juniors as well. Everyone’s demonstrating our philosophies and abilities to win, and I’m proud to see that our conference coaches see that.”

The poll is voted on by the 18 coaches in the GLIAC Conference. The Wildcats received 35 points in the preseason poll. The Ferris State Bulldogs came in second place with 43 points, and the Grand Valley State Lakers received the most votes with 55 points.

Yoder said he believes his team will be able to compete with the top teams in the conference.

“The teams voted above us are really senior laden,” Yoder said. “We’re going to be a lot younger than them, so it’s going to come down to our experience early in the season and the ability to gain a lot of experience and game play for our younger players. We’ll need to polish every single day so that when we go up against the top teams, we can meet their intensity and their abilities.”

Last season, the Wildcats were 15-3 in the GLIAC and 23-10 overall and reached the GLIAC tournament semifinals before falling 3-1 to Ashland University Saturday, Nov. 23 in Allendale, Mich.

The Wildcats finished the regular season in second place of the GLIAC, despite a preseason coaches prediction to finish fifth.

FreshmanHogeboom said the team will have to prove they’re capable of finishing third or higher in the GLIAC this season.

“I think it’s awesome that the coaches think we have a lot of potential this year,” Hogeboom said. “It’s great to be told that, but we really need to live up to our actions and make sure we’re not just talking it, but we’re doing it on the court as well.”

After graduating five seniors last season, the Wildcats will bring in eight freshman for the 2014 campaign.

Freshman middle hitter Kayla Chosa said she has high expectations for her team in her first season.

“I think by the end of the season we’re going to finish third or better,” Chosa said. “We might be a young team, but our young players have a lot of veteran leadership and some have great experience from last year. We’re going to show some good competition.”

Yoder is entering his eighth season as the head coach of the women’s volleyball team, and has earned the second most GLIAC wins in school history with 89, and is third in overall wins.

Chosa said the program’s recent success attracted her to NMU.

“Obviously this team’s been good for a while, and the coaching staff here is amazing,” Chosa said. “Marquette is a really awesome community, and I’m very proud to start playing here as a Wildcat.”

The Wildcats begin their season against Minn. Duluth at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24 at Vandament Arena.