Wildcats host Purdue NW, Davenport for first time

Northern Michigan University‚ Rachel Braunschweig, center, keeps her eye on the ball as it goes over the net in a game against Lake Superior State University Saturday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2017, at Vandament Arena. (Journal photo by Rachel Oakley)

MARQUETTE — The volleyball team at Northern Michigan University returns to Marquette for a short two-match homestand this weekend.

The Wildcats’ Vandament Arena will host the GLIAC’s two newest members, Purdue University-Northwest at 7 p.m. today and Davenport University at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. These will be the first meetings ever between the NMU and these schools, according to an Northern sports news release.

Tonight’s match is also Youth Sports Day, where any student in eighth grade or under wearing a jersey or team apparel receives free admission.

Live video and statistics of both matches will be available at NMU’s sports website, www.nmuwildcats.com.

Northern is 14-6 overall and 6-3 in the GLIAC, good for a tie for second place in the league. The Wildcats trail GLIAC leader Ferris State by two games and are tied with Michigan Tech and Wayne State.

NMU leads all of NCAA Division II with 216 1/2 total blocks, including 55 solo blocks and 323 block assists. Their 2.89 blocks per set is also second nationally.

Senior Kayla Chosa is eighth individually in the nation with 1.33 blocks per set, while sophomore Sarah Kuehn is 11th just behind her teammate at 1.29. Chosa is fifth in total blocks with 100 and Kuehn ninth with 97.

Last weekend, the Wildcats won two of three matches at the 36-team Midwest Region Crossover in Aurora, Illinois. Northern opened with a five-set loss to Rockhurst of the Great Lakes Valley Conference before defeating former GLIAC member and current Great Midwest Athletic Conference school Walsh in three sets and GLVC member McKendree in four sets.

Rockhurst is eight spots out of being ranked in this week’s NCAA Division II national top-25 poll.

Northern senior Madison Whitehead was named Player of the Week for the GLIAC North Division for the second time this season after accumulating 43 kills and 14 blocks in the Crossover matches. Kuehn was named to the all-tourney team after posting 24 kills and 19 total blocks, two solo.

Chosa reached several career milestones in Illinois — 100 solo blocks, 400 total blocks and 1,000 kills.

Junior teammate Autumn Monsma is nearing 100 services aces with 91, including 33 this season as she leads the GLIAC and is 38th nationally with 0.44 aces per set.

Senior Jami Hogeboom is third in the league and 18th in the nation with 11.11 assists per set as she reached 3,000 career assists earlier this season.

Junior Rachel Braunschweig, the team’s digs leader with 329, is sixth in the GLIAC with 4.39 digs per set.

And freshman Leticia Antunes is going strong in her debut season, ranked nationally in kills. She has 208 kills and 16 aces, each third on the team, and 237 digs, second among Wildcats.

Purdue Northwest, based in Hammond, Indiana, is 6-17 and 1-8 after breaking a seven-match losing streak at the Midwest Crossover, while Davenport, out of Grand Rapids, is 9-11 and 5-4 after winning its last two league matches.

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