Volleyball team begins the GLIAC playoffs

Julie Goldberg

The Wildcat volleyball team will travel to Ohio to compete against the Findlay University Oilers in the quarterfinals of the GLIAC tournament.re-volleyball_JR

The ’Cats played the Lake Superior State Lakers on Friday, Nov. 13 in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. and swept the Lakers with scores of 25-11, 25-16 and 25-11.

Sophomore left setter/middle hitter Madison Whitehead and sophomore middle hitter Kayla Chosa led the team in kills with nine apiece. Sophomore setter Jami Hogeboom led the team with 26 assists, and senior libero Alex Berger had 12 digs to lead the ’Cats.

Against the Northwood Timberwolves in Midland, Mich. on Saturday, Nov. 14, the Wildcats swept the Timberwolves with scores of 25-23, 25-13 and 25-13 to clinch their tournament berth.

Chosa led the team in kills with 12. Senior left setter Lisa Studnicka and freshman left setter Autumn Monsma had seven kills apiece.

Berger led the team with 14 digs and Hogeboom had a match-high 32 assists.

The two sweeps for the Wildcats give them a total of 11 sweeps for the season with seven of them in GLIAC play.

Head coach Dominic Yoder was proud of the team’s effort against Lake Superior State and Northwood.

“The team played like they were on a mission,” Yoder said

Chosa and the team were not disappointed with the outcome from this past weekend.

“The two matches from this past weekend really showed our true team connectivity,” Chosa said. “We wanted redemption against Northwood, who beat us earlier this season, and once again we executed the game plan
flawlessly.”

The Wildcats are the No. 7 seed for the tournament and are facing the No. 2 seed Findlay University in the quarterfinals of the
tournament.

Yoder and the team are feeling confident that they can make a tournament run.

“We can beat any team in the conference,” Yoder said. “We just need to play consistently and
together.”

The Oilers are 23-7 for the season with a 15-3 GLIAC record.

The Wildcats and Oilers faced each other on Saturday, Oct. 3 at Findlay with the Oilers winning three sets to one.

Junior middle hitter Anna Aycock led the ’Cats in that matchup with 14 kills, and Berger added nine digs.

Oiler freshman outside hitter Amanda Winner and junior outside hitter Hannah Tong led them with 14 kills and seven digs apiece. Freshman setter Hailee Olson recorded 55 assists for the Oilers.

Leading the Oilers this season is Tong, who has recorded 429 kills, averaging 3.94 per set. Senior libero Becca Shoemaker leads the team with 412 digs and averages 3.75 per set.

For Findlay, the Wildcats are going to maintain their system performance and work on minor tweaks in their team strategies, according to Yoder.

The Wildcats are 21-9 for the season with a 10-8 record in GLIAC play. It’s the third time in the past five seasons that the team has reached the 20-win plateau.

The team ended their regular season by winning seven of their last 10 matches, so the team is looking positive for the
tournament.

“I’m very proud of our team and players,” Yoder said. “They could have given up the season when we started conference play 2-5, but the team really got to work and stayed focused by winning the next eight of 11 conference matches. I’m very happy with where our team is right now.”

The winner between NMU and Findlay will face the winner of the No. 3 Hillsdale/No. 6 Saginaw Valley State match. Semifinals are on Saturday, Nov. 21 with the conference championship on Sunday, Nov. 22.

“Our mindset going into the tournament is to continue on the climb of great team chemistry on the court,” Chosa said. “A lot of the teams that also made it to the tournament are teams we had lost to in close games so we are hoping that our hard work in practice will give us the extra push we need to come out on top.”