MARQUETTE - Going into its last weekend of regular season play, the odds are in favor of the Northern Michigan University volleyball team hosting a first-round GLIAC tournament match.
In the conference standings, the Wildcats are currently in a four-way tie for second place with Ferris State, Northwood and Ashland - all at 13-3. Grand Valley State leads the GLIAC with a 15-1 record.
"Right now I think we're ready for the postseason," NMU head coach Dominic Yoder said.
The Northern Michigan University volleyball team celebrates a point against Michigan Tech on Nov. 5 at?Vandament Arena in Marquette. The Wildcats are in a four-way tie for second in the conference standings at 13-3. (Journal file photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
"The last two weekends have had that feel that it's either win or go home, so I think we'll carry that into this weekend."
The 'Cats hit the road this weekend to challenge Saginaw Valley State (8-8 in the GLIAC) on Friday and Lake Superior State (2-14 in the GLIAC) on Saturday. Despite their records, Yoder said he doesn't want his team to overlook its opponents.
"In our conference, anything is possible," Yoder said.
Although the 'Cats swept SVSU at home in September, Yoder said the Cardinals are playing well lately and being on the Cardinals' court will add pressure.
"Saginaw Valley has always played us tough at their place," Yoder said. "It's always gone into four or five."
Yoder said the Wildcats have a very good chance of finishing tied for second, third or fourth place in the GLIAC following this weekend's play. The top four seeds host the first round on Wednesday, Nov. 20.
"I'm really depending on us being successful in these two upcoming matches this weekend," Yoder said.
While there's a scenario where the Wildcats could finish fifth after this weekend, Yoder said he doesn't anticipate that happening.
Pending the results of Wednesday's games, the top remaining seed will host the semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 23 and the finals on Sunday, Nov 24.
"We're just excited for the opportunity to potentially host on Wednesday and we'd love to have a packed gym to be able to come out and support us," Yoder said.
Northern will once again trust its senior class to secure one final game at Vandament Arena.
Lina Lopes has a team-high 330 kills this season with fellow seniors Kalli Herron (317) and Sarah Hamilton (273) ranking second and third.
All three are assisted by senior setter Kellisha Harley, who is up to 1,041 assists this season.
Yoder has high expectations for them again this weekend to stay motivated and finish competitively strong.
"Being a senior, you never know if it's your last game or not," Yoder said.