MARQUETTE - Coming into an already limited spring season, the Northern Michigan University volleyball team has also had to handle the loss of key players and the addition of new recruits in the past weeks.
With only five days to play during the spring season, four of which they have already used, the Wildcats have gone 6-4-1 after two matches and a tournament. Their last day of competition will be an open four-on-four tournament to be held from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday at Vandament Arena.
"We have one weekend left, and it's really a non-competitive four-on-four," NMU volleyball head coach Dominic Yoder said. "It's basically a fun weekend for our community members - for our alumni to come in and play four-on-four with our players."
The team, which lost Abby Lovell, Sami Vierk and Kristin Wenzel after they transferred out of the program, is now made up of primarily underclassmen.
"The players have been doing really well, but we're pretty young," Yoder said. "We're going to be pretty much junior and sophomore status for the upcoming year."
The Wildcats will have only two returning seniors in the fall, those being Kalin Zimmerman and Jasmine Calhoun, while they have seven juniors returning.
As for the spots that have been opened by transfers and graduating seniors, Yoder's recruitment efforts have been substantial, and include six new athletes for the fall.
"We have four top freshmen coming in," he said. "Three that we signed last year and another that we will sign here in the next couple weeks.
"We also have two junior transfers which will be coming in. We'll be announcing those signings pretty quickly so those spots will be filled with quality players."
After going 15-14 overall and 12-7 in the GLIAC last fall, the team took to winter training, while also sustaining its normal practice time. The spring season, according to Yoder, is equal to baseball's spring training.
"In January and February we spend a lot of time with individual skill training," he said. "Then we also do physical training - two hours of skill and five hours of physical - so it was easy to get into team practice again.