ALLENDALE, Mich. Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚“ What a difference a year makes.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Last year the Northern Michigan University womenÃƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚™s volleyball team was the topseed in the NCAA II Great Lakes Regional Tournament and was defeated in theirfirst match by Northern Kentucky.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Move ahead about 365 days and the Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚˜Cats areregional champions after defeating Northwood on Sunday afternoon at Grand Valley State in four games (30-25, 30-21, 28-30, 30-27).Ãƒ‚Ã‚
This year NMU was the fifth seeded team.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ It is also theÃƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚˜Cats first trip to the NCAA II Elite Eight since the 1997 season.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ A bit ofhistory was made on Sunday, the Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚˜Cats defeated Northwood in the 1997 regionalchampionship match to advance to the Elite Eight.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ NMU is now 24-6 on the yearand will wait to find out where the Elite Eight will be played from Dec. 2-4.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ TheTimberwolves end the 2004 season with a 21-10 overall record.
Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚œI felt coming in that we were the best team in the region,Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚Jim Moore said.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚œThe adversity that we have gone through helped us down thestretch.Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚Ãƒ‚Ã‚ The Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚˜Cats lost a total of two games in the three matches played atthe regional tournament.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ NMU has a three-match winning streak entering thenational tournament and have won nine out of their last 11 matches.Ãƒ‚Ã‚
Today NMU put away 70 balls in 189 total attempts for a teamhitting percentage of .238.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Aimee Dewitte led the way with 18 kills in 36attempts for a .389 hitting percentage.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Andrea Smith was next with 17 kills.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚œAndrea Smith did a great job putting balls away,Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚ Moore added.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Two otherÃƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚˜Cats had over 10 kills as Holly Greenamyre added 13 and Ashley Kiel had 11.
According to Moore the Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚˜Cats did not serve well in the thirdgame as the Timberwolves caught fire and won the game to extend the match to afourth game.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ But the Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚˜Cats found their serve once again and won the fourthgame and a trip to the national championship tournament.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Dewitte chipped in onthe defensive front with 20 digs and two block assists.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Liz Kohn added 17 digsfor the match.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Brittany McGowan dished the ball for 29 assists and she had 13digs for the match.
Dewitte, Kiel and Smith were all named to the NCAA II GreatLakes Regional All-Tournament Team.