Volleyball team takes on Wisconsin tournament

Julie Goldberg

The Northern Michigan University volleyball team travels to Kenosha, Wisconsin to compete in the UW-Parkside Tournament on Friday, Sept. 9 and Saturday, Sept. 10.

re-Volleyball.8.23.ET.5On Friday, the team faces St. Cloud State at 1 p.m. and Minnesota-Duluth at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, the Wildcats face Upper Iowa at 10:30 a.m. and Minnesota State Moorhead at 3 p.m.

The St. Cloud State Huskies are 1-3 this season. Northern Michigan played St. Cloud State last season and won 3-1.

The Wildcats lead the all-time series 15-9.

The Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs are 4-0 this season. The Wildcats and Bulldogs have faced each other 40 times with the Bulldogs leading the series 24-16, with their last meeting being in 2014.

The Upper Iowa Peacocks are 2-2 this season. The Wildcats faced the Peacocks last season and lost to them in five sets. Upper Iowa leads the all-time series 2-1.

The Minnesota State Moorhead Dragons are 3-1 this season. The Wildcats have never faced the Dragons.

“We are going to improve our offensive efficiency as well as converting digging opportunities to enhance opportunities to score points,” head coach Dominic Yoder said on the upcoming tournament.

On Thursday, Sept. 1 in the Wildcats matchup against Southwestern Oklahoma State, Yoder reached the 200 career victory plateau. The Wildcats won the match 3-0 with set scores of 25-21, 28-26, and 25-20.

“It was a good opening match for us,” Yoder said. “Southwestern Oklahoma State is a good team and will probably win their conference again this year. They proved to be a formidable opponent.”

Senior middle hitter Bridget Bussell led the team in kills with 11. Junior middle hitter Madison Whitehead had five blocks, and senior defensive specialist Megan Dahl had 20 digs.

“Since it was our first game of the season, the excitement was wild,” Dahl said. “We did a very good job at executing the game plan that was brought to us.”

In the Lady Buff Classic on Friday, Sept. 2 and Saturday, Sept. 3 in Canyon, Texas, the Wildcats went 2-2.

“It gave us some great competition,” Dahl said. “We took two losses, which is never fun, but we definitely learned from them. This will help us progress forward into the upcoming competitions.”

The Wildcats began the tournament with a five set victory over Eastern New Mexico with set scores of 18-25, 29-27, 19-25, 25-15, and 15-12.

Bussell led the team with 12 kills and six blocks while Dahl had a career-high 23 digs.

Junior setter Jami Hogeboom had a match-high 47 assists.

Next, the Wildcats lost to West Texas A&M 3-0 with scores of 26-24, 25-10, and 25-18.

Junior middle hitter Kayla Chosa had 11 kills and a 0.368 hitting percentage for the ’Cats. Hogeboom had a match-high 29 assists.

The Wildcats started the second day of the classic with a 3-1 victory over McKendree with set scores of 25-22, 22-25, 25-23, and 25-23.

Yoder said that the wins against Eastern New Mexico and McKendree were high-level wins.

Leading the ’Cats was senior left side hitter Marta Fraga Guntin with 15 kills. Dahl added 14 digs while Chosa had five blocks.

To finish the classic, the Wildcats lost to Adams State in five sets.

Whitehead led Northern Michigan with 15 kills while Dahl had 17 digs. Bussell had five blocks.

“We had a long weekend, but that won’t stop us from getting after it during practice,” Dahl said. “We will keep working on our aggression at the service line, strong serve receive, effective communication, energetic offense, and persistent defense.”

The ’Cats are 3-2 to begin the season.

Yoder is now at 177 victories as the Northern Michigan head coach, only 17 behind the school record of 194.

“It was a good weekend for us,” Yoder said. “The other teams did well and that helped us learn a lot about our team and the adjustments we need to make to keep improving.”