Volleyballers attempt to find consistency


The WIldcats attempt to score a point during a match from last season. Photo courtesy of NMU athletics.

Travis Nelson

After starting off last season with a 9-0 record, including an upset win over the number one ranked University of Minnesota-Duluth, Northern Michigan University Women’s Volleyball team is looking to build off another strong start, and carry that momentum for the entirety of its season.

The Wildcats went undefeated in non-conference play at 11-0, including a nine-game winning streak to start the season. GLIAC Conference play wasn’t as kind to NMU however, as they would go on to finish with a 5-11 mark. After their historically strong beginning to the season, NMU went through a mid-season slump that became an obstacle that was too much to overcome. The team would lose eight matches in a nine-match stretch, including a five match losing streak that set them back.

The team graduated seven seniors this past year, including two of their top-three scorers in outside hitters Autumn Monsma and Maggie Liebeck. Other major senior contributors will leave voids in this year’s squad that will need to be addressed. These include setter Lynzi Svoboda, defensive specialist Rachel Braunschweig and outside hitter Jessica Skonning.

Trying to make up for those losses will be tough for the ’Cats, but there are still key cogs in the machine. Leading the charge will be senior middle blocker Sarah Kuehn, who was second in scoring for NMU last season with 336.5 points. Junior outside hitter Letricia Antunes will also be a force to reckoned with, and despite missing three matches last year, scored 246.5 points. This year’s offensive attack is looking to put up numbers similar to that of the 2017 team that was one game shy of reaching the GLIAC Championship game.

Coach Mike Lozier is in his third year at the helm for NMU, and he has had a successful track record. Lozier has risen up through the coaching ranks after being an assistant coach for Wayne State University and Grand Valley State University.

The Wildcats want to rebound this season when they begin their 2019 campaign on Thursday, September 5 when they take on Mary University in the Keweenaw Volleyball Classic. The three-day event will be hosted by Michigan Technological University, with NMU competing in four matches that weekend.