NMU notebook: GLIAC’s best in volleyball invade Vandament Arena this weekend

MARQUETTE – The best the GLIAC has to offer takes over Vandament Arena this weekend as the Northern Michigan University volleyball team hosts Grand Valley State at 7 p.m. on Friday and Ferris State at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

The Wildcats, Lakers and Bulldogs are all tied atop the North Division at 10-1 in league play.

Ashland, which beat NMU in five sets in Marquette in September, leads the South at 8-3.

The ‘Cats, at 17-7 overall, are coming off a three-set win over Missouri Science and Technology and two losses to Southern Indiana (3-0) and Truman State (3-2) in the GLVC/GLIAC Crossover in Illinois.

Including the weekend’s games against GVSU and FSU, NMU still has seven regular season matches before the GLIAC tournament begins.

Senior Lina Lopes leads NMU in kills with 279 while fellow senior Kalli Herron has 262. Both have been fueled by senior setter Kellisha Harley and her 862 assists.

Defensively, sophomore Alex Berger leads NMU in digs with 279 while Lopes has 242.

GVSU, at 19-3 overall, went 3-0 at the GLVC/GLIAC Crossover and is led this season by Abby Aiken’s 287 kills. Christina Canepa has 326 digs.

Aiken and Lopes are third and fourth in total kills, respectively, in the GLIAC while Herron is seventh.

For Ferris, which went 2-1 at the Crossover to improve to 17-5 overall, Alexi Huntey has a team-high 250 kills and Brandie Merren has a team-high 344 digs.

Saturday’s game against the Bulldogs is Senior Day and Veterans’ Day. All military personnel and their families get free admission and veterans will be honored during the match.

NMU closes its regular season home slate at 7 p.m. on Tuesday against Michigan Tech.


NMU soccer wraps up regular season

The Wildcats soccer team team will attempt to lock up a GLIAC tournament spot in its final two games of the regular season at 7 p.m. on Friday against Walsh in North Canton, Ohio and at noon on Sunday versus Malone in North Canton.

NMU currently sits sixth in the GLIAC standings at 4-9-2 overall and 4-4-2 in the GLIAC with 14 points.

The top eight teams make the GLIAC tournament and NMU has only missed the league’s postseason once – last year – since the GLIAC began hosting a tournament in 2008.

Lake Erie and Tiffin, who are tied for ninth, sit four points back of NMU going into the weekend.

Freshman forward Paula Hafner leads NMU in scoring with seven goals and five assists while senior Nicole Musi has three goals.

Freshman Alexandra Simmons has emerged as the Wildcats starting goaltender this season, having made 55 stops in 12 games with three wins.

Walsh is coming off of two wins over Tiffin and Findlay to improve to 3-5 overall and 3-4 in the GLIAC.

Malone sits in last in the GLIAC at 4-10-1 overall and 1-9-0 in the league after being shutout in two losses to Findlay and Tiffin.


Swimming and diving returns to the pool

The Wildcats swimming and diving team returns from a one-week layoff to square off against Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Gustavus Adolphus College on Saturday in Eau Claire.

NMU is coming off a pair of wins in its own pool Oct. 18-19 over St. Cloud State and Minnesota State-Moorhead, beating both schools on both days.

Junior Debbi Lawrence is the Wildcats fastest sprinter in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle. Junior Tara Dowling leads the distance swimmers having posted a collegiate-best time of 18 minutes, 25.3 seconds in the 1,650-yard freestyle.

Junior diver Molly Kearney has placed first in both the 1- and 3-meter dives against Hillsdale, SCSU and MSUM. She finished second in both events against GVSU.