Nation’s top team stunned

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Tyler Young

The Northern Michigan University Volleyball team is now 8-0 on the year after an impressive performance in the Wildcat Open Tournament last weekend, in which they won all four of their matches, building on their already incredibly promising start.

The Wildcats opened the tournament with a win over the University of Minnesota – Crookston on Friday, taking the match in straight sets 25-16, 25-15 and 25-13. Their next match, played later the same day, pitted them against the nation’s top team in the University of Minnesota – Duluth Bulldogs. The Wildcats took the first set by the slim margin of 25-23, then the second 25-15. Duluth captured the third set 25-16, and held an early lead in the fourth, but Northern stormed back and sealed the upset victory with another hard fought 25-23 win.

On Saturday, the Wildcats faced the Bemidji State University Beavers in the first match of the day. A close match throughout, NMU managed a narrow straight sets victory, going 25-18, 25-22 and 25-23. They next took on the St. Cloud State University Huskies with the hope of maintaining their untarnished record. The Wildcats took the first and second sets by scores of 25-15 and 25-23, but surrendered the third set to St. Cloud 25-22. In a nail-biter of a fourth set, NMU narrowly edged the Huskies 26-24 to win their eighth straight game of the year and remain undefeated.

After the tournament concluded, it was announced that sophomore outside hitter Leticia Antunes had been named the GLIAC North Division Player of the Week. Antunes was one of three NMU players named to the All-Tournament Team, joined by senior outside hitter Autumn Monsma and junior middle blocker Sarah Kuehn. In the tournament defining game for the Wildcats, Antunes led NMU with 21 kills and 10 blocks to go along with a pair of blocks.

With an 8-0 start to the season, the Wildcats have risen to 23rd in the latest national poll and are off to their first 8-0 start in program history. NMU takes the court again on Friday, Sept. 7, when they open GLIAC play on the road at Lake Superior State University (LSSU).

NMU won both matchups against LSSU last season, sweeping both matchups.