The third place Wildcats return home this weekend to host Ohio Dominican University and Tiffin University, after earning a pair of wins on the road last weekend.
The ’Cats faced Malone 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3 at Osborne Hall with a 3-0 victory. NMU ended the match with a .219 hitting percent with 10 blocks and 47 digs. The win put NMU 7-1 in the GLIAC and 7-6 overall.
The ’Cats went on to defeat Walsh University 3-0 Saturday, Oct. 4 at Cecchini Center.
Freshman middle hitter Kayla Chosa said they were prepared for challenging matches but had no doubts due to the team’s ability to work together.
“We always try and go in as positive as we can but we knew both teams would be good competition,” Chosa said. “We had some difficulties at the beginning of each game but our team chemistry helped us all together. At the tied points in the game we knew it was really crucial for us, we had the ball, we had to push and get a whole bunch of runs so we then built off that. Even if we did have to side out we built off that and just fed off each other.”
The Wildcats sit third out of eight teams in the GLIAC North Division.Freshman left side hitter/middle hitter Madison Whitehead said the Wildcats face tough opponents but know they have the ability to achieve the win.
“We definitely started out a little rough. We lost quite a few games in the beginning, but ever since conference started we’ve won most of them. We only lost one so it’s been a lot better,” Whitehead said. “Even though we were expecting them to be a challenge they came out really strong and that made us have to fight back. It’s going to be a lot more difficult this weekend because the teams are better but I think we have the ability to win both of them.”
The ’Cats will play Ohio Dominican 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10 at Vandament Arena. Ohio Dominican is ranked third out of eight teams in the GLIAC South division with a 6-3 record in the conference and 8-7 overall.
Senior middle hitter Caitlin Kusan for the Panthers is a league leader in the GLIAC with 172 points.
Kusan currently has a .207 hitting percentage.
In 2012 she led her team with .336 hitting percentage, and was unable to play the 2013 season due to an injury.
Ohio Dominican’s sophomore middle hitter Jackie Oestreich has 55 blocks this season, the second most in the GLIAC. Oestreich held a career high of 20 kills against Tiffin Tuesday, Nov. 5 at Alumni Hall last season.
The ‘Cats will host Tiffin at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11 at Vandament Arena.
Tiffin is 6-6 overall and ranked fifth in the GLIAC South division with a 3-5 record. The Dragons have six players ranked in the GLIAC league leaders.
Senior hitter Lu Phillips is ranked first for kills per set in the GLIAC with an average of 3.42 per game. Tiffin’s senior outside hitter Ally Kohlhase is ranked second in the conference for averaging .320 hitting percentage per game. Senior right front/setter Tiffany Buchinger placed second, averaging 9.64 assists per set.
Freshman defensive specialist Tiffany Lattimore ranks first, averaging six digs per set, which puts her one spot above NMU’s Berger.
The ’Cats will finish the week against the University of Wisconsin Parkside Rangers 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 13 at Vandament Arena.
Wisconsin Parkside has a current record of 7-6 overall and 4-4 in the Great Lakes Valley conference. Freshman outside hitter Jackie Langer is in her first season with the Rangers, starting in all 13 matches so far. She has made 148 kills and 116 digs. Langer is currently at a hitting percentage of .214 per game.
Head coach Dominic Yoder said the competition coming to the Vandament Arena will be something you won’t want to miss.
“Volleyball is an energetic and fast pace game with tremendous entertainment value and our players are fun to watch play the game,” Yoder said. “Strong blocking and floor defense were the keys to our success this past weekend. Two very competitive matches from ODU and Tiffin, two very different and unique styles of play with very good players.
“Individual player and team system consistency for NMU has been the focus over the last four practice weeks, I am seeing a tremendous adaptation from the freshman and continual performance from sophomores and juniors.”