Northern Michigan University volleyball team returns home for matches tonight, Saturday afternoon

From left, Michigan Tech’s MacAulay Peterson attempts to hit over the blocks of Northern Michigan University’s Jami Hogeboom and Kayla Chosa on Sept. 19 at the Student Development Complex in Houghton. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo by David Archambeau)

MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University volleyball team returns to Vandament Arena tonight to begin a two-match weekend at home against a pair of GLIAC teams from Ohio.

The Wildcats, 11-4 overall and 5-2 in the GLIAC North Division, host Tiffin at 7 p.m. before taking on Ashland at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Live stats and video of each match are available at Northern’s sports website, www.nmuwildcats.com, or follow @NMU_Wildcats on Twitter.

NMU is 9-1 all-time vs. Tiffin, though the Dragons broke through last year vs. the Wildcats in four sets. Similarly, Northern won its first 14 meetings with Ashland, but the Eagles have won eight of the last nine, including five-set victories in each of the past two years.

NMU leads the league in two ways in a pair of statistical categories — in total blocks, the Wildcats have 157, or 2.95 blocks per set, and in service aces, with 82 in all, or 0.55 per set. They are also second in the NCAA Division II in blocks per set and fourth in total blocks, according to a school news release.

Individually, senior Kayla Chosa is second in the nation in blocks per set, fourth in total blocks and 24th in hitting percentage.

Junior Autumn Monsma leads the GLIAC and is 21st in the nation with 29 aces, while she is 18th with 0.55 aces per set.

Senior Jami Hogeboom is 25th nationally with 11.09 assists per set.

Northern’s 11 wins in September is their best since 2012, when they won a dozen that month as part of a 20-victory season.

Senior Madison Whitehead continues to rise on the school’s career list in kills with 1,151. She is eighth with that number, but just 86 from reaching the all-time top five.

Chosa is in a similar situation with her 314 total blocks putting her fourth in that category.

Last weekend, the Wildcats split a pair of four-set matches downstate, defeating Wayne State before losing at Grand Valley State. Chosa and Monsma each totaled 23 kills in those matches.

After this weekend, NMU heads to the Midwest Region Crossover tournament in Aurora, Illinois, to play matches on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 13-14, against opponents yet to be determined.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.