Volleyball goes 2-1 at tournament

Photo+by+Neil+Flavin%3A+In+an+past+game+against+Ashland+University%2C+Freshman+outside+hitter+and+native+of+Brazil%2C+Leticia+Antunes%2C+returns+the+ball+while+Ashland+players+prepare+to+block.

Photo by Neil Flavin: In an past game against Ashland University, Freshman outside hitter and native of Brazil, Leticia Antunes, returns the ball while Ashland players prepare to block.

Ryan Spitza

The Northern Michigan Volleyball team had a nice break from Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play last weekend as the Wildcats picked up two victories at the Midwest Region Crossover tournament, going 2-1 in the tournament and defeating Walsh in three sets and McKendree in four sets.

The Wildcats’ only loss came at the hands of Rockhurst in five sets in the first match of the weekend.

The Wildcats also earned some individual awards on the weekend, with Madison Whitehead earning the GLIAC North Volleyball Player of the Week award for the second time this season and Sarah Kuehn named to the Midwest Region Crossover All-Tournament Team. Whitehead had 43 kills and 14 blocks on the weekend while Kuehn had 24 kills and 19 blocks.

NMU head coach Mike Lozier called the trip a success despite the one close loss to a solid Rockhurst team.

“Going into it, I thought 2-1 would have been a successful trip,” he said. “Rockhurst is a really good team that we pushed to five (sets), anything can happen in a fifth set and unfortunately we were on the losing end.”

Lozier added that the team bounced back very well after the first loss.

“We came out and took it to Walsh and then McKendree who’s second in the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) we beat in four, so that was a good win to end the weekend.”

Junior defensive setter Rachel Braunschweig said the team chemistry at the tournament was peaking more than ever this season.

“It went really well, we played as a team probably the best we have all season which was really encouraging to see this far along into the season,” she said. “How we can keep getting better and keep growing together, which is really cool because it shows that we still have potential moving forward.”

Kuehn said the tournament was a success due to what they were able to work on and the information they got about both themselves and opponents by playing three matches.

“I think those wins were huge for us and we have a lot of things we’ve been working on that we looked at,” she said. “It was nice to be able to play three matches in a weekend, not necessarily on the bodies, but as far as getting a ton of information and having three opponents is always awesome.”

The Wildcats now have seven games remaining on the regular season schedule, and as they sit at a three-way tie for second place in the GLIAC standings, five of those seven matches are at home.

Braunschweig said the advantage of having five of the last seven at home is a big one.

“We have a lot of pride to play in front of Marquette,” she said. “It’s a great community to play in and the Vandament is great to play in so we’re very excited.”

Lozier said the home court opportunity is exciting for him as well.

“We’re always looking forward to playing at home,” he said. “We were on the road so much early on, so you really appreciate the opportunities to play in Vandament and have a hometown crowd and not have to travel or get on a bus, so we’re definitely looking forward to that.”

The Wildcats take on Purdue Northwest 7 p.m. on Friday before a 4:30 p.m. Saturday match with Davenport at Vandament Arena.