Wildcat Volleyball upsets #17 Ferris State

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MARQUETTE, Mi. Northern Michigan University's Volleyball Team upset #17 Ferris State University 3-2 in a five-set Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference thriller.

The win is the first win over the Bulldogs for NMU since a 3-2 victory in 2015, when Ferris State was ranked first in the NCAA. The win also helps secure a GLIAC tournament home match next week for the Wildcats, their first home GLIAC Tournament match since 2014.

The Wildcats controlled the net throughout most of the match, led by redshirt sophomore Sarah Kuehn (Green Bay, Wisc./De Pere). Kuehn led NMU with 18 kills, hitting at a .500 clip, and added a solo block and seven block assists.

Senior Madison Whitehead (Altoona, Wisc.) finished with 17 kills and six block assists. Senior Kayla Chosa (Wrightstown, Wisc.) chipped in with 15 kills, hitting .333 on the night and also posted a solo block and five block assists.

As a team, the Wildcats finished with 65 kills, with FSU notching 56. In defending the net, NMU doubled the output of the Bulldogs, recording 14 blocks to FSU's seven.

Senior Jami Hogeboom (Grand Haven, Mich.) finished the match with 54 assists and now has 3,586 for her career. With 30 more assists, she will move from fifth-place to third-place all-time. Hogeboom also posted three aces, 10 digs and three block assists.

Freshman Leticia Antunes (Florianopolis, Brazil/Colegio Ofelia Fonseca) led the team's backline with a career-high 23 digs. Antunes also added two aces. Junior Rachel Braunschweig (Alamo, Calif./San Ramon Valley/Cape Fear CC) tallied 20 digs with junior Autumn Monsma (Grand Haven, Mich.) contributing 10.

To open the match, NMU fell behind in the first set 7-0 and ultimately dropped the opener 25-20. The Wildcats bounced back in the second set, taking a 25-19 victory. In the third set, the Bulldogs responded to win 25-21.

The fourth set saw back-and-forth action throughout the set, with the teams facing eight tied scores, including five times once the game hit 22-22. The teams exchanged points all the way until 27-27 when Chosa hit back-to-back kills to win the set 29-25, setting up a fifth set.

In the deciding set, FSU went up early once again, leading 8-5 when the teams switched sides. The Bulldogs then extended their lead to 10-5 when the Wildcats called timeout. NMU returned to the court and started to claw their way back with two straight kills, one by Kuehn and one by Antunes to pull within 10-7. Whitehead and Kuehn then teamed for a block, which Whitehead followed with another kill to force a Bulldog timeout with the score 10-9.

Out of the FSU timeout, Whitehead notched another kill to pull the Wildcats to a 10-10 tie. Kuehn would then post another kill to give NMU their first lead of the set. After a second Bulldog timeout, Hogeboom served an ace, and another block by Whitehead and Kuehn moved the score to a 13-10 Wildcat advantage.

The Bulldogs inched closer, getting a kill, but Kuehn sealed the upset victory with her final kill of the night, helping NMU win the set 15-12.

The Wildcats improve to 19-7 on the season, 11-4 in the GLIAC while Ferris State falls to 19-7, 12-3 in the league. NMU returns to action Saturday afternoon to host Northwood University in the final regular season match of the year. The game also will be Senior Day, where Chosa, Hogeboom and Whitehead will be honored. In honor of Veterans Day, all veterans and a guest will receive free admission to the match.