MARQUETTE, Mich. – The 2011 Northern Michigan volleyball season begins this weekend in St. Paul Minn. at the Wildwood Lodge Volleyball Classic. The ‘Cats will face four opponents over two days, in a tournament that features some of the best programs in the country.
The tournament is hosted by the four-time defending NCAA II National Champions Concordia- St. Paul. The six team tournament field features five schools ranked in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Preseason Poll.
Head coach Dominic Yoder’s squad returns nine letterwinners from a season ago, which saw the Wildcats advance to the NCAA II Tournament for the third straight season and a final ranking of No. 23 in the country.
The ‘Cats open the season against Southwest Minn. St. on Friday (Sept. 2) at 10 a.m. The Mustangs enter the season ranked sixth in the country and have made seven consecutive appearances in the NCAA II Tournament, including a semifinal appearance a season ago.
NMU’s second opponent on opening day is Pittsburgh State at 4 p.m.. The Gorillas return nine letterwinners from last season and head coach Ibraheem Suberu has led Pittsburgh State to four national tournament appearances. This is the first meeting between the schools.
The second day of the tournament begins for the ‘Cats against the No. 2 ranked team in nation, Central Missouri St. on Saturday (Sept. 3) at noon. The Mules finished third at the 2010 NCAA II National Championship. The ‘Cats are 5-1 all-time against the Mules.
The ‘Cats close the tournament against No. 1 Concordia-St. Paul on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. The host Golden Bears have won 22 consecutive matches dating back to last season, with their last loss coming against Southwest Minn. St. Concordia holds a 2-0 lifetime record against the Wildcats.
NMU begins the season ranked No. 25 in the AVCA Preseason Poll. The ‘Cats were also chosen as the top team in the northern division in the GLIAC Preseason Poll.
Fans can watch the games at: http://www.nmtvsports.com
Live stats will also be available at: http://www.cugoldenbears.com/LiveStats/index.html
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