Volleyball ends season with win streak

Julie Goldberg

The Northern Michigan Volleyball team finished their regular season with four straight victories. The Wildcats beat Hillsdale on Friday, Nov. 4 and Northwood on Saturday, Nov. 5.

re-volleyball-jmOn Friday, Nov. 11, the Wildcats won their third straight match as they swept the Lake Superior State Lakers with set scores of 25-15, 25-20 and 25-19. Northern Michigan held Lake Superior State to a 0.06 hitting percentage in the match.

Junior middle hitter Madison Whitehead and senior middle hitter Bridget Bussell led the ’Cats with nine kills each. Sophomore left side hitter Autumn Monsma posted 15 digs to lead the Wildcats.

“The wins are all we could have asked for,” senior defensive specialist Meghan Supple said. “We talked about how we wanted to go out with a lot of wins and it was even better that it was at home.”

On Saturday, Nov. 12, the Wildcats finished their season by beating the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals in four sets.

“To have the season end on a positive note, it was good for us seniors,” senior left side hitter Marta Fraga Guntin said. “It was the last match of our careers and it ended our careers on a positive note.” Five Wildcats reached the 10-kill plateau. Junior middle hitter Kayla Chosa led Northern Michigan with 16 kills and had a season-best 0.58 hitting percentage.

Whitehead also had 16 kills for the match. She finished just three kills shy of 1,000 for her career and next year, will have a chance to become the 16th Wildcat to reach the 1,000 kill milestone. Senior middle hitter Megan Crane (13), Monsma (13) and Bussell (11) also reached double digits in kills. Crane’s 13 kills set a career high in her final collegiate match.

Sophomore libero Rachel Braunschweig set a career high in digs with 28.

“We are very excited to have ended the season with four straight wins, ” head coach Dominic Yoder said.“The win against Saginaw Valley State was very exciting since we beat them for the second time this season.” This season, Whitehead led the Wildcats with 383 kills while junior setter Jami Hogeboom posted 1,242 assists to lead the team. Leading the team in digs was senior defensive specialist Megan Dahl with 383.

The Wildcats will be losing five seniors in Bussell, Crane, Dahl, Guntin and Supple, but the team still has lots of talent going forward.

“I believe in this team so much,” Guntin said. “I believe next year, they will do awesome things. They have a lot of great players coming in, so I expect a lot of them in future years.”

Next season, the team will have returning 12 players from this year’s team, and their senior class will be Chosa, Hogeboom and Whitehead.

“The junior class has a lot of leadership,” Supple said. “It’s not just about the volleyball skills, it’s about the leadership skills in that class, so I really hope that they’re able to turn it around and to having a successful season.”

Yoder said that the team will be returning the core of the team’s offense and blocking.

“With the emergence of our top level libero in Braunschweig and solid defensive play by freshman Gabriela Martinez, we will also return the core of our floor defense,” Yoder said. The Wildcats finish the season with 17-14 with a 8-9 GLIAC record.

“With the addition of our solid recruiting class for 2017, there is a lot to be excited about with the 2017 team,” Yoder said.