Wildcat Volleyball hits the road for Ohio matchups

Julie Goldberg

The Northern Michigan volleyball team is on the road this weekend to take on two Ohio opponents.

re-volleyball1-jmOn Friday, Sept. 30, the Wayne State Warriors beat the Wildcats in five sets.

“We really had chances to win the match,” head coach Dominic Yoder said. “We didn’t really capitalize on some of their mistakes and really push through some of our successes that we had against them.”

Junior middle hitter Madison Whitehead had 16 kills to lead Northern Michigan. Also finishing in the double digits in kills was senior middle hitter Bridget Bussell (13), Kayla Chosa (12), and senior left setter Marta Fraga Guntin (11). Wayne State totaled 23 blocks. The Warriors also had 13 aces while the Wildcats only had two.

On Saturday, Oct. 1, the Wildcats hosted the Findlay Oilers and lost in three sets, the third set playing 34-32.

“It was definitely high intensity,” defensive specialist Megan Dahl said. “Everyone was going for every ball out there.”

Yoder added that that set was one of the most competitive he has ever seen his team play against a very good Findlay team.

Whitehead posted a team-high 14 kills while sophomore left setter Maggie Liebeck contributed 10 kills for the ’Cats. Dahl had a team-high 10 digs. Whitehead and Chosa each had four blocks.

“These were tough losses, but we fought very hard through both of them,” Dahl said. The Wildcats face the Urbana Blue Knights in non conference play at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7. Urbana University is 8-9 this season with a 2-2 record in the Mountain East Conference.

“We’re going to mostly work on our serve receive,” Dahl said. “We’re going to be more aggressive this upcoming week.”

Leading the Blue Knights this season is junior outside hitter Mikaela Beck. Beck has recorded 208 kills. Junior defensive specialist Maia Dunlap leads Urbana in digs with 185.

The two teams have faced each other once. That matchup was in 2008 and Northern Michigan won in three sets. The Wildcats continue play in Ohio by playing the Walsh Cavaliers in GLIAC play at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8.

The Cavaliers are 5-9 this season with a 1-5 record in the GLIAC.

“We have to control first contact,” Yoder said. “We have to do a much better job controlling the first contact and work on our serve reception. We want to put our opponent in stressful situations by forcing them out of a system and keeping us in our system. Our offense will run more smoothly then.”

Junior outside hitter Gina Kramer leads Walsh with 166 kills while sophomore defensive specialist Amanda Adoranti leads the team with 200 digs. Northern Michigan leads the between the all-time series with Walsh 3-1.

When the two teams faced each other last season, the Wildcats beat the Cavaliers in three sets. Whitehead led the Wildcats with 16 kills while Chosa added four blocks.

For the season, Dahl leads the GLIAC in digs with 289, Bussell ranks in the top five in service aces per set (2nd, 0.39) and hitting percentage (4th, 0.33), and Whitehead is third in kills with 208.

“I’m pretty happy with most of the statistical categories that the team is at right now,” Yoder said. “We definitely have some improvements to make though.”

With the two losses, the Wildcats are 9-8 with a 3-4 record in GLIAC play. They are tied for third in the north conference standings and tied for fifth in the overall