’Cats set to host GLIAC semi-finals

Photo+by+Emma+Case%3A+Senior+setter+Jami+Hogeboom+serves+the+ball+against+the+Northwood+Timberwolves.+Hogeboom+has+accumulated+47+kills+this+season+and+her+career+total+stands+at+157.

Photo by Emma Case: Senior setter Jami Hogeboom serves the ball against the Northwood Timberwolves. Hogeboom has accumulated 47 kills this season and her career total stands at 157.

Ryan Spitza

After earning the second seed in the GLIAC Tournament with wins over then-No. 17 Ferris State and Northwood last weekend, the NMU Volleyball team opened tournament play with a 3-1 victory over seventh-seeded Davenport in a GLIAC quarterfinal match at Vandament Arena on Wednesday night.

NMU won in four sets by set scores of 25-15, 25-13, 23-25 and 25-19.

The Wildcats now head to host Ferris State on Saturday for a semi-final match with three-seeded Michigan Tech. The Huskies and Wildcats split the season series, stealing wins in each other’s buildings.

NMU head coach Mike Lozier said his team had to regroup after pulling out to a 2-0 set lead and letting Davenport take the third.

“We talk all year about just playing our game,” he said. “The first thing I said the other day was that we dictate what happens positively or negatively. In that third set when things started to go haywire, it was because we were making a lot of mistakes. All you have to do in those time outs is talk about reverting back to what we know and sticking to fundamental play and that’s what they did.”

Senior right side hitter Madison Whitehead said after the third set blunder, the team just needed to get back to basics.

“We just knew in the third set we were much better than how we played,” she said. “Just coming out and playing like we did the first two sets was our goal.”

Set one started on a kill from Whitehead. Davenport kept it close and took its first lead 6-5 on a service error. NMU got the lead back on a kill from junior outside hitter Autumn Monsma to make it 8-7 and never looked back, pulling far ahead and eventually taking the set on a kill from sophomore middle blocker Sarah Kuehn.

The Wildcats dominated set two from the get-go, racing out to a 4-0 lead before Davenport got on the board. The Panthers pulled within three to make it 8-5, but that’s as close as they came. NMU went up 20-9 and eventually took the set on a kill from freshman outside hitter Leticia Antunes.

After Davenport kept things close and won the third set, NMU jumped out to a lead it wouldn’t surrender in set four, slowly pulling away in the end and clinching the match on a kill from Antunes.

It was a milestone night for Monsma as well, who recorded her 100th career ace for the Wildcats.

Kuehn led the way with 13 kills on the night followed by Antunes and Kayla Chose with 12 each.

MTU took its quarterfinal match three sets to none in a sweep of sixth-seeded Tiffin on Wednesday.

Senior setter Jami Hogeboom said the two foes match up well with depth and the intensity of the rivalry.

“We’re ready, obviously, and it’s a fun game,” she said. “It’s going to be a great game. They have great players and we have great players and we have to defend the U.P., so we’re excited to go down to Ferris and do exactly that.”

Lozier said he’s looking forward to the rematch with the Huskies.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “I think we match up well. You tell the team that. Not that you need motivation for the semi-finals of the tournament, but it’s a little added incentive on a neutral floor. They’ve been playing well and I would argue, between us and them, we’re two of the hottest teams in the league.”

The Northern Michigan Wildcats face the Michigan Tech University Huskies Saturday in Big Rapids with match time to be announced.