NMU spikers picked to finish third in GLIAC North Division

NMU’s Jami Hogeboom sets the ball for Kayla Chosa with Rachel Braunschweig, left, and Leticia Antunes in action during a game against Davenport Wednesday evening, November 15, 2017 at the Vandament Arena. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

By Journal Sports Staff

BAY CITY — After just missing the NCAA Division II Tournament last season, the Northern Michigan University volleyball team got some respect from the conference’s voters.

In this season’s GLIAC preseason poll, the Wildcats were picked to finish third in North Division with 43 total votes behind top pick Ferris State (61) and rival Michigan Tech (49).

In the South Division, Wayne State (57 votes) was predicted to take the top spot with Grand Valley State in a close second with 52.

Despite losing key players Kayla Chosa and Madison Whitehead to graduation, NMU still has a quality team to put on the court this fall.

All-GLIAC members Sarah Kuehn and Leticia Antunes will be back to lead the squad on the offensive side. Kuehn led the conference in kill percentage and blocks per set, while Antunes was second on the team in digs and third in aces, kills and points per set. Outside hitter Autumn Monsma, who was the conference leader in aces per set, is also returning and Lynzi Svoboda will take over as the team’s setter. On the defensive side, Rachel Braunschweig returns after finishing fifth in conference in digs.

Calumet natives Janie Torola and Hailey Wickstom along with Engadine alum Aubrey Simmons will all compete for playing time this year.

The season begins Friday, Aug. 24 at the Capital Classic in Springfield, Ill. where the Wildcats will play McKendree (Ill.) at noon and Walsh (Ohio) at 6:30 pm. The meet will continue the following day with NMU taking on Cedarville (Ohio) at 4:30 pm. and host Illinois-Springfield at 8:30 pm.

Northern’s first home meet will be the Wildcat Open Aug. 31-Sept. 1. The Wildcats play Minnesota Crookston at 1 pm. Friday and Minnesota Duluth at 7 pm.

On Saturday, NMU takes on Bemidji State at 1 pm. and St. Cloud State at 7 pm.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Writer Ryan Stieg. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.