Volleyball team gears up for midwest tourney

AnnMarie Kent

The Wildcat volleyball team hits the road for a tournament after a weekend of wins at home.

The ’Cats hosted the Malone University Pioneers Friday, Oct. 9 at Vandament Arena.

NMU recorded a 3-1 victory over the Pioneers.

“I thought Jami Hogeboom did a really nice job setting our offense,” head coach Dominic Yoder said. “She was really picking the opponent apart, and using our attackers to score points.”

Senior left setter Lisa Studnicka lead the ’Cats with 13 kills and six service aces.

The weekend continued Saturday, Oct. 10 at Vandament Arena against the Walsh University Cavaliers.

The Wildcats came out 3-0 against the Cavaliers.

“We had a bunch of good communication this weekend,” junior defensive specialist Megan Dahl said. “There was just so much energy between us. We wanted to fight for this. We were tired of the losing streak and we wanted to win. There was just a lot of positivity between us all.”

Sophomore middle hitter Madison Whitehead had 16 kills against Walsh.

Senior libero Alex Berger posted 21 digs.

Yoder said that he thinks each team he coaches is either geared toward playing well at home or playing better while traveling, and the ’Cats this year are geared toward playing well on the road.

The ’Cats will continue the season with the Midwest Region Crossover in Aurora, Ill.

This tournament will feature 16 teams from the GLIAC, as well as 16 teams from the Great Lakes Valley Conference and four teams from the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.

The two-day tournament has 54 matches on nine courts.

“The feeling at the crossover is crazy,” Dahl said. “There are balls everywhere and it’s so incredibly loud. That’s when the meaning behind team comes in, you have to know your team’s needs and your coaches’ [needs]. There’s just a tenacity that we need to come out of us.”

The Wildcats start their weekend at the tournament with a game at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 16 against the University of Missouri-St. Louis Tritons at the Great Lakes Center.

The Tritons are 8-11 overall and 4-5 in the GLVC.

NMU played the Tritons last in the 2012 season at the GLIAC/GLVC crossover.

The ’Cats were able to defeat the Tritons 3-0.

“You’ve got 32 teams playing at once, so it’s just a crazy amount of energy,” Yoder said. “There’s a crazy amount of noise and it affects communication, especially for the players that have never done this before.”

The tournament will continue with a matchup of the Wildcats against the St. Joseph’s College Pumas at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17 at the Great Lakes Center.

The Pumas are 1-8 in the GLVC, with a 5-11 record overall.

The Wildcats last played the Pumas in 2009 with a 3-0 victory at the GLIAC/GLVC crossover.

NMU continues the weekend at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17 against the Bellarmine University Knights.

The Knights have gone 7-12 overall and 2-7 in the GLVC.

The ’Cats won against the Knights 3-2 in the GLIAC/GLVC crossover in their last matchup during the 2011 season.

“There’s gonna be huge competition,” Dahl said about this weekend. “It’s gonna be crazy fighting for who’s going to win. This is a good dictator for where our season ranks. So we’re hoping to do well and end our season on positive note.”