MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University volleyball team, under the direction of head coach Dominic Yoder recently closed out the 2012 season.
The Wildcats completed its 10th straight winning season with an overall record of 20-12 and a 12-6 mark in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, good for a fifth place conference finish. NMU also appeared in the GLIAC tournament for the ninth consecutive year.
Yoder’s squad started off the season with four straight non-conference wins at the Ferris State Tournament (Aug. 31-Sept. 1). The ‘Cats defeated Minnesota-Crookston 3-1 and then shut out Mercyhurst College, West Virginia State and Glenville State. Juniors Sarah Hamilton and Kellisha Harley were named to the all-tournament team.
Northern went on to compete in five more non-conference games before starting GLIAC play on the season. NMU was shut out 3-0 by the Minnesota Duluth on Sept. 4 and then travelled to Rolla, Missouri for a two-day tournament (Sept. 7-8), going 3-1 in the Missouri S&T Classic. The wins were over Emporia State, Southern Indiana and Missouri-St. Louis with the one loss to the host team. Freshman Lisa Studnicka was named to the all-tournament team.
Conference play began on Sept. 14 with a four-match road trip where Northern earned victories at Saginaw Valley State (3-2), Lake Superior State (3-1) and Lake Erie College (3-0). The first GLIAC loss came at Ashland on Sept. 22 in a 3-2 deficit.
The first home game of the season was on Sept. 25 against Michigan Tech, as the ‘Cats took the easy 3-0 victory. However, the following weekend, NMU fell to both Wayne State (1-3) and the Findlay (2-3) at home.
The month of October kicked-off with a road trip back to Ohio as the ‘Cats had two first-ever meetings. NMU split the weekend after defeating Malone, 3-1 and falling to Walsh 3-2.
The ‘Cats dropped three matches at the annual GLVC/GLIAC Crossover. Southern Indiana and Missouri-St. Louis got their revenge from earlier losses at the Missouri S&T Classic with shut wins. Lewis defeated the ‘Cats in five sets in the final match.
After the Crossover, conference action resumed at Vandament Arena with wins over Ohio Dominican (3-1) and Tiffin (3-0).
NMU hit the road for the final time of the regular season for a 3-2 victory over Grand Valley State and a 3-1 loss to Ferris State. October closed out with a trip north to Michigan Tech where the ‘Cats completed the sweep of the Huskies for the year, with another 3-0 win.
The regular season concluded with four home matches as the ‘Cats went 3-1 down the stretch losing only to GLIAC leading Northwood (3-0). The three wins were over Hillsdale College (3-1), SVSU (3-1) and LSSU (3-1).
In the GLIAC postseason, NMU traveled to Ashland for the second straight year in the quarterfinal. Much like 2011, the Eagles ended the Wildcat season, this time in five sets.
NMU said farewell to four seniors at the end of the season as Jasmine Calhoun, Bailey Franklin, Andree Ring and Kalin Zimmerman were honored before the final match of the year.
At the conclusion of the season, three NMU players were honored by the GLIAC. Juniors Lina Lopes and Kellisha Harley were selected to the GLIAC first team and junior Kalli Herron was named honorable mention.
Lopes led the NMU offense with 379 kills, finishing ninth in the GLIAC with a 3.06 average per set. She appeared in all 32 matches and in 124 sets and also had 45 service aces. Herron was second on the team with 360 kills, averaging 2.93 per set. Hamilton (263) and Studnicka (260) also had over 250 kills on the season.
Harley setup the offense with 1,290 assists, leading the GLIAC and finishing 10th in school history. She appeared in all 32 matches and 126 sets, averaging 10.29 assists per set to finish second in the GLIAC in her first season in the Green and Gold.
The defense was led by Zimmerman with 374 digs for an average of 3.2 per set. Lopes had 312 digs and Harley added 242. Studnicka (232) and freshman Alex Berger (230) also tallied over 200 digs.
Hamilton led the defense at the net with 91 total blocks. She had 17 solo and 74 assisted blocks. Herron tallied 83 total blocks and Calhoun added 80, including 19 solo blocks.
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