MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan volleyball team is set to begin a pivotal three-week stretch of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference matches, all leading up to the conference tournament.
This week the ‘Cats travel for a trio of matches against three of the top teams in the GLIAC north division.
“This weekend’s matches have huge implications for the division and conference,” head coach Dominic Yoder said.
NMU opens the weekend at Saginaw Valley State at 7 p.m. on Friday (Oct. 21). The Cardinals enter the match in third place in the GLIAC north division, one place behind the ‘Cats. SVSU has dropped two of their last three matches. The Cardinals are led by senior outside hitter Annie Buxton. She has a team best 213 kills and averages 3.61 kills per set.
The Cardinals bested the ‘Cats in Marquette earlier this season 3-1. NMU has dominated the series however, holding a 50-8 lead over SVSU.
The ‘Cats then travel to Allendale to take on Grand Valley State at 4 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 22). The Lakers enter the matchup having lost three straight and are currently in fifth place in the GLIAC north division. The Lakers are led by freshman outside hitter Abby Aiken. She has a team best 183 kills and averages 2.82 kills per set.
NMU defeated GVSU earlier this season at home 3-2. The ‘Cats hold a slim lead in the head-to-head series 48-44-2.
“All three teams have continued to improve since we last saw them, so we need to bring the same intensity that we had in September when we last met them,” Yoder said.
NMU closes out the weekend in Big Rapids taking on No. 13 Ferris State at 2 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 23). The Bulldogs have been on a roll since last facing the ‘Cats two months back and currently sit in first place of the north division, one game ahead of NMU. FSU has only lost once since their defeat in Marquette back on Sept. 11. The Bulldogs are led by senior outside hitter Ashley Huntley. The senior has a team best 245 kills and averages 3.83 kills per set.
The ‘Cats defeated the Bulldogs earlier this season at home, 3-2. The ‘Cats hold the all-time advantage at 45-40.
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