October 2011 Archives

LEADER OF THE PACK

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Chandler Harnish rushing 1.jpgThere is a great story in the Rockford Register Star today by Matt Trowbridge on Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish. A first team All-MAC selection in 2010, Harnish has been the face of NIU football for the last two seasons and he is looking to close out his final campaign with a MAC championship. Be sure to check it out.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

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The day started off with a bang, no not because my second bicuspid was exploding with pain from all the candy floating around the NIU Athletics office, but because of a man oozing with patriotism on All Hallows' Eve.


The day had not even started yet. I walked into the office with my coffee, sat down in my chair and opened my bag to unload my laptop and began my Monday. Before I could even open my email to check the abundance of messages sent in the past couple hours, the door to the sports information offices opened and a distinctive "woosh, woosh" sound promptly followed, followed a low pitched "hum" that grew closer.


When I quickly turned around to investigate, all I saw was a red, white and blue blur darting towards the end of the office and past my cubicle entry way. That blur was none other than Captain America, who quickly got into a ready fighting stance in front of Assistant Media Relations Director Joe Summins and asked (jokingly) if he "was ready to throw down!?!" Before he could finish laughing, Summins snapped back that his "shield looked like a dinner plate." So ended the confrontation and the smiles kept radiating.


The man behind the mask was Head Women's Gymnastics Coach Sam Morreale, who made his rounds in athletics to remind everyone that today was halloween and show us his spirit. So from all of us in the Northern Illinois Athletics, including Captain America, we wish you a happy and safe Halloween.


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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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The Huskies closed out October with a light week of competition, as only five teams were in action. Despite the short week, it was a highly successful one with volleyball extending their season-long winning streak and men's soccer clinching a spot in the MAC Tournament.

Volleyball: The Huskies made it nine in a row this weekend in Michigan as they recorded wins at Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan. On Friday, NIU avenged last month's home loss to the Eagles with a 3-1 victory in Ypsilanti, Mich. The win also gave Huskie head coach Ray Gooden his fourth 20-win season in ten season at Northern. The Huskies followed that up Saturday with another 3-1 win, this time against the Chippewas of Central Michigan.

Men's Soccer: Northern Illinois posted their third-straight conference win and clinched a spot in the MAC Tournament with a 3-0 rout of Bowling Green. Pat Sloan, Kenny Kranz and Jayson LeSeth all scored goals for the Huskies in the win, while goalie Jordan Godsey made four saves to record the shutout. The shutout was the ninth of the season for NIU.

Women's Soccer: The Huskies closed out their 2011 season with a tough 2-0 loss to Western Michigan in DeKalb. NIU had several chances to score, but was unable to find the back of the net in the loss. Northern finishes the season with a 2-15-2 record overall and 1-10-0 in the MAC.

Cross Country: Northern Illinois placed 11th at the MAC Championships Saturday in Muncie, Ind., posting a one spot improvement from last season. Courtney Oldenburg led the way for NIU with a time of 23:01.60, taking 54th place in the field. In second place for the Huskies was Claire McAuley, who crossed the finish line in 23:05.10.

Wrestling: NIU kicked off their 2011-12 season Saturday afternoon with the annual Wrestle-Offs. The exhibition, which helps determine the starting lineup for the season, saw the Black team top Red by a 17-14 margin. Nick Smith, Kevin Fanta, Tyler Loethen and Arber Bebo notched wins for Black, while Rob Jillard, Caleb Busson, Mike Lukowski and Jared Torrence got wins for Red.

The Huskies kick off November with football taking on Toledo at the Glass Bowl Tuesday night and men's basketball opening their season with an exhibition at the Convocation Center against Carthage. In addition, volleyball is at home against Toledo and Ball State, wrestling hosts Stanford and North Central and men's soccer travels to Milwaukee and Hartwick.

HARNISH ALWAYS ACTIVE IN THE COMMUNITY

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Harnish-Chandler-2010-002.jpgOne of Chandler Harnish's favorite groups to work with in the DeKalb-Sycamore area is the Cornerstone Christian Academy. Harnish took part in a fundraiser at the school Wednesday which as of Wednesday had raised $25,000 for tuition assistance to Cornerstone Christian Academy. The Daily-Chronicle was out at CCA and caught up with the Huskie signal caller in this piece.

WRESTLE-OFF MATCHUPS SET

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RyanLudwig.jpgWith the annual Huskie Wrestle-Offs set for Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Convocation Center's Victor E. Court, the matchups for the intrasquad meet have been set. The meet will begin with two exhibition matches, followed by the Red & Black Dual.

Exhibition Matches
133: Derek Elmore vs. Thorian Twyner
149: Ethan Davis vs. Matt Frisch

Red & Black Dual
125: Nick Harrison vs. Nick Smith
133: Rob Jillard vs. Jason Montemayor
141: Shawn Fayette vs. Kevin Fanta
149: Steven Bradley vs. Matt Smith
157: Sam Bennett vs. Tyler Loethen
174: Caleb Busson vs. Dan Burk
184: Austin Pickering vs. Arber Bebo
197: Mike Lukowski vs. Shane Rosenberry
285: Jared Torrence vs. Parker Settecase

SWEET HOME CHICAGO

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Salerno-Mike-2009-008.jpgMike Salerno is back kicking in the Chicago area. The Orland Park native signed a deal to kick for the Chicago Rush of the Arena Football League. Salerno, who kicked for NIU from 2008-09, scored 184 points hitting 73 extra points and going 19-of-25 on field goals. He kicked a career long 52 yarder for the Huskies in 2008.

The Rush will be Salerno's third AFL team. He kicked for the Kansas City Command in 2011 and the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz in 2010. Salerno and the Rush open their 2012 season Sunday, March 11th against the Tampa Bay Storm.

NIU WOMEN'S HOOPS READY TO COMPETE

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Bennett.jpgDuring Tuesday's NIU Basketball Media Day, the Daily Chronicle's John Sahly caught up with second-year women's basketball head coach Kathi Bennett and asked about the Huskies' competitive status in Year 2.  Bennett's answer was simple: "We have a group of kids who are all, I say highly competitive but I don't know what the word is, but man, none of them want to lose. None of them want to be sitting. They fight to stay on the floor."

Competitiveness will not be a problem for the 2011-12 Huskies.  Click here to read Sahly's article and find out more about what the Huskies are bringing to the table this year.

MISSED MEDIA DAY? DON'T WORRY, WE HAVE YOU COVERED

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Convo Hoops Logo.jpegIf you missed yesterday's NIU Basketball Media Day or are looking for more coverage, we have you covered.  Let's start with the transcript of the press conference -- click here.  After the press conference, the following articles were written from one-on-one interviews:

"New eras begin for NIU men's, women's basketball teams," by Matt Trowbridge, Rockford Register Star

"Hoops media day notes," by Huskie Wire

"Montgomery wants to build Huskies' identity on tough defense," by Ryan Wood, Daily Chronicle

"Bennett set to begin second season," by Matt Hopkinson, Northern Star

"Montgomery ready to open up first season" by Brian Thomas, Northern Star

The Huskies were also featured on video by the following local TV stations:

WREX, Rockford's NBC affiliate

WTVO, Rockford's ABC affiliate

MONTGOMERY BRINGS WINNING PHILOSOPHY TO NIU

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Sports Illustrated web front_small.jpgNIU men's basketball head coach Mark Montgomery spent the last 10 seasons as an assistant coach at Michigan State and, as Steve Hendershot explains in an article for Sports Illustrated, Montgomery brought much of that winning Spartan formula to NIU. But the NIU way isn't completely the same as the MSU way, read more to find out where Montgomery believes he and Izzo differ. 

HUSKIE REUNION

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Collins-Spann.jpgFrom the where are they now file, I received this note from former Huskie center McAllister Collins Saturday afternoon. Collins, who played for the Huskies from 1997-2000, was a first team All-Mid-American Conference selection in 2000 and he was teammates with Huskie greats Justin McCariens, Ryan Diem and Thomas Hammock.

Collins, who is attending the prestigious Royal Military Academy - Sandhurst, met up with another former Huskie last week - Chad Spann. Spann, who had just signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, was on the trip to London where the Buccaneers faced off against the Chicago Bears. It was a reunion of sorts as the two had met before Spann had attended Northern Illinois.

My name is McAllister Collins and I will ALWAYS be a proud Huskie!  Upon departing from NIU I enjoyed a brief stint in the National Football League which was followed by continued work within the sports industry.  A couple years ago, I decided to "answer the call" and am now a Military Intelligence (Branch Detail - FIeld Artillery) Officer in the United States Army.  I was selected (from hundreds of potential candidates) and am now attending the Royal Military Academy - Sandhurst (RMAS).  RMAS is essentially the "West Point" for the British Army, except it is the sole commissioning source of British Army Officers.  As I am sure you are aware, in The United States, we also have ROTC and Officer Candidate School (OCS). 
 
Since I am one of only 10 Americans who have ever attended Sandhurst in the Academy's long, proud history, the administrators here try their best to get me involved in anything occurring closeby that is of American origin.  As such, we attended practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday (October 20) in preparation for their matchup against the Chicago Bears this Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London.  You can only imagine the joy I felt in my heart when I saw NIU's very own, Chad Spann, walking off of the practice field.  I actually met Chad back in his hometown years prior during a mentoring program run by a service organization in which I am a former member.  I introduced myself to him all those years ago when he mentioned that his goal was to attend Northern Illinois University and play football.  As a former Huskie football player myself ('97-'00, DT, OT, C), I became somewhat of an advisor for Chad and his family.  Who would have thought that over five years later, Chad and I would meet again in one of the most unlikely places. 
 
I have attached a photo of Chad and myself.  It's always great to see and meet new (and old) Huskies all over the world.
 
Go Huskies!
2LT McAllister Collins, Field Artillery
NIU Football - 1997-2000
 
By the way, of course I'm rooting for the Bears!!!!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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It was clearly a successful week for Northern Illinois, as they won all but two games during the past week. Meanwhile, men's golf and women's tennis posted excellent performances in their final competitions of the fall season

Football: After building a 31-10 lead through three quarters, the Huskies held on to beat Buffalo Saturday, 31-30, when the Bulls missed what would have been the tying extra point with 14 seconds to go. During the game, Chandler Harnish broke another NIU career record by surpassing George Bork's completion record in the second quarter. On defense, the Huskies picked off two passes and recovered two muffed punt returns.

Volleyball: Northern Illinois pushed their winning streak to seven with two dominating wins over MAC East opponents over the weekend. On Friday, the Huskies blanked Kent State, 3-0, courtesy of 51 kills and a 33.6 hitting percentage. NIU repeated that performance Saturday against MAC East leader Ohio, sweeping the Bobcats, 3-0, in a rematch of last season's MAC Tournament championship.

Men's Soccer: NIU posted their first two wins in MAC play during the week to improve to 2-2 in conference and 10-4 overall. On Wednesday, the Huskies used two second half goals from James Stevenson and solid goaltending from Jordan Godsey to shut out Western Michigan, 3-0. For Sunday's Senior Day, it was Stevenson again who was the hero, finding the back of the net in the 41st minute to lift Northern past Florida Atlantic, 1-0.

Women's Soccer: The Huskies wrapped up the road portion of their schedule over the weekend, dropping two matches in Ohio. Against Miami (Ohio), the Huskies fell 3-0 after being outshot 19-8 in the match. The team's struggles continued Sunday, when they fell to Bowling Green by a 2-0 margin despite holding the Falcons without a shot in the first half.

Men's Golf: Northern Illinois traveled to Maryland Monday and Tuesday for the Georgetown Intercollegiate, placing seventh out of 12 teams. Bryce Emory paced the Huskies with a third place finish individually, while Matt Gorman took 27th place. The tournament was NIU's last for the fall season, as they will return to action in February for the MAC Match Play tournament.

Women's Tennis: The Huskies put the finishing touches on their 2011 fall season over the weekend, as they hosted the ITA Second Chance Regional in Rockford, Ill. In singles, the team posted eight wins over the weekend, while they were 4-2 in doubles play.

It will be a relatively light week for NIU Athletics, as only five teams will be in action. In DeKalb, women's soccer wraps up their season with a match Thursday against Western Michigan and wrestling begins their season Saturday with the annual Wrestle-Offs. Also, volleyball heads east to face Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan, men's soccer battles Bowling Green Saturday and cross country competes in the MAC Championships in Muncie, Ind.

GETTING DEFENSIVE

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Pat Schiller Blitzes for a sack.jpgThe Northern Illinois University defense has shown vast improvements in the last two games, allowing an average of 16 points per game and keeping teams under 200 yards of total offense. That's quite a change from the 39.6 points and 499.8 yards of total offense allowed a game in the first five contests.

Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald breaks down the Huskies' improvement on the defensive side of the ball in this article in today's paper.

FLEET OF FOOT

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Harnish-Chandler-CMU.jpgChandler Harnish's double-double Saturday was an amazing feat. He became just the 10th player in NCAA FBS history to rush for 200 yards and pass for 200 yards tallying 229 yards rush and 203 yards passing. As Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune writes, Harnish, the Huskies' leading rusher with 671 yards, is just as dangerous with his legs than he is his arm.

Ryan Wood of the Daily Chronicle also offered his take on Harnish's running ability in this story found in today's paper.

FORMER HUSKIE STAR MAKING A DIFFERENCE

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Joe Henricksen of the Chicago Sun-Times recently caught up with former NIU basketball player, and Huskie Hall of Famer, Rodney Davis to talk about Davis' current work with young people in the Aurora area. In 2005, the former NIU star started L.I.F.E. Support Incorporated, a non-profit that provides social services and recreational activities for young people. Davis has also written a book entitled, "After The Buzzer - 7 Steps for Winning the Big Game (Life, After the Cheering Stops)." You can find more information on Davis' book at afterthebuzzer.com and on his organization at lifesupportinc.org.

WICINSKI A SPORTS ILLUSTRATED FACE IN THE CROWD

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Wicinski_SI_Faces.jpgNIU volleyball star Lauren Wicinski's media parade continues this week as she is featured in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd" for the Oct. 24 issue that just hit newsstands and mailboxes.  Go pick up a copy to see for yourself or click here to see the online version!

DOUBLE IMPACT

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Jordan Lynch.jpgMany teams in college football are employ a two quarterback offense and Northern Illinois University is no exception. Chandler Harnish and Jordan Lynch provide a nice one-two punch for the Huskie offense. As Rick Armstrong of the Beacon News writes, the playing time Lynch is receiving now is not only paying dividends this season, but it will also pay off in the future.

SUCCESS STARTS UP FRONT

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Harnish passing.jpgThere are a pair of stories in the Rockford Register Star today Huskie fans might be interested in. Jay Taft talks about how Chandler Harnish and the Huskies' performance Saturday against Western Michigan has vaulted them back into MAC title contention. Taft's colleague, Matt Trowbridge, filed this story on the guys that protect Harnish and open holes for Huskie running backs.

SPANN A BUCCANEER

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Chad Spann.jpgAnother former Northern Illinois University football player was signed by an NFL squad. A week after Tracy Wilson was signed to the New York Jets practice, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced the signing of Chad Spann to the Buccaneer practice squad. Spann was on the team flight to London, England where the Bucs will face the Bears. Good thing Spann had his passport in order after the Huskies trip to Toronto for the 2010 International Bowl.

VICTOR E. HUSKIE HEADS TO THE JOB FAIR!

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Victor E suit.jpgNIUHuskies.com caught Victor E. Huskie on his way to the job fair that is being held at the Convocation Center today.  Victor E. is probably going to get a lot of "don't quit your day job" responses from the prospective employers but good luck, Victor E!

ENTER THE NCAA MIDWEST REGIONAL SOCIAL MEDIA CONTEST

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Northern Illinois cross country is offering prizes for social media users who use Twitter and Facebook to connect with the NCAA Regional Championship being hosted by NIU on November 12th, at Noon on the NIU North 40.

Twitter Contest

Twitter followers have a chance to win prizes by tweeting about the NCAA Regional Cross Country Championship.

To enter the contest simply tweet something about the NCAA Regional and include the hash tag #NIURegional in your tweet. Things you can tweet about include letting your twitter followers know details about the event, who your favorite team is, what you're looking forward to seeing or anything else on your mind related to the event. You can also tweet a link to the meet web site or the shortened link (http://tiny.cc/ncaaxc).

Don't forget to include the hash tag #NIURegional

Facebook Contest

Facebook users have a chance to win prizes by visiting the Facebook event page for the NCAA Regional Cross Country Championship.

To enter the contest, simply visit the Facebook page and click "Attending" for the event.  Be sure to share the event page and to invite your Facebook friends to attend as well.

Prizes

Each Thursday leading up to the event one Twitter user and one Facebook user will be selected to win free admission, free VIP parking and NCAA Championship apparel. Entrants may tweet multiple times to help their chances and Facebook users can increase their odds of winning by sharing the event page and inviting their Facebook friends to attend. Prize winners will be contacted through their Twitter and Facebook accounts.

About the Regional

As one of nine regional championships held nationally at the Division I level, NIU will host the Midwest's 33 Division I cross country participating schools from the states of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

The Midwest Region includes schools from 10 conferences, including the Atlantic 10, Big 12, BIG EAST, Big Ten, Conference USA, Great West, Horizon League, Mid-American, Missouri Valley, Ohio Valley and Summit League.

In addition to the Midwest Region Championship determining the top regional teams, the event also serves as the first round of the NCAA Championships, as the top two teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team automatically advance to the national championship. Additional teams and individuals are chosen through an at-large process following the regional competition.

For more information on the NCAA Regional Championship, click here.

WICINSKI FEATURED IN CHICAGO TRIBUNE

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Wicinski _Tribune.jpgNIU volleyball sophomore standout Lauren Wicinski continues to blossom, and the Chicago Tribune's Philip Hersh featured her story in today's paper.  Click here to read.

The 2010 MAC Player and Freshman of the Year is also featured in the Northern Star today by writer Abbe Barton for her "assault" on the Huskie volleyball records.  Click here to read.

HARNISH'S PLAY SATURDAY MAKES NATIONAL NEWS

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Chandler Harnish passing.jpgChandler Harnish's performance Saturday against Western Michigan made national news for the senior signal caller. It made Mark Schlabach's On the Mark portion of his column on ESPN.com today.

• Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish, a senior from Bluffton, Ind., became only the 10th player in FBS history to both run and pass for 200 yards in the same game. Harnish had 203 yards on 14-for-27 passing and ran for 229 on 14 attempts in a 51-22 rout of Western Michigan on Saturday. Harnish only played three quarters and ran for 163 yards in the third quarter alone.

Among the other players who accomplished the rare feat: former Texas quarterback Vince Young against Oklahoma State in 2005; ex-West Virginia star Pat White against Pittsburgh in 2006; and Michigan's Denard Robinson against both Notre Dame and Indiana last season.


RECAP OF SATURDAY'S BIG WIN OVER BRONCOS

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Harnish and Lynch.jpgMany of the experts predicted a high-scoring game before Northern Illinois University's game with Western Michigan Saturday, but no one expected it to be so lopsided. The Huskies delivered an impressive 51-22 victory over the Broncos in NIU's 105th Homecoming game.  

In addition to complete coverage on NIUHuskies.com, several area papers were at the game. Most of the stories centered around NIU's amazing offensive explosion, keyed by the incredible performance by NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish. Below are the links to all the game recaps.

Chicago Tribune: NIU routs Western Michigan 51-22

Sun Times: NIU's Chandler Harnish runs for 229 yards, throws for 203

Beacon News: Harnish no one-trick pony

Daily Chronicle: The adjustment bureau

Daily Chronicle: Huskies get defensive in win

Rockford Register Star: Chandler Harnish, Huskies steamroll key conference foe

WICINSKI FEATURED ON VOLLEYBALL VOICES

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Huskie volleyball standout Lauren Wicinski continues to grab national headlines as she is featured on Volleyball Voices this week. Click here to read her interview.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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The middle week of October was a successful one for NIU Athletics. The hallmark moment was off the field, though, as the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Center Campaign kicked off Saturday before the Huskie football team took on Western Michigan for Homecoming. The 83,500 square foot facility will house a full-size, 120-yard artificial surface football practice field with buffer space surrounding the field on all sides, in addition to a four-lane track, batting cages, and storage cages, among other amenities.

Football: It was a very successful Homecoming for the Huskies, as NIU throttled West Division rival Western Michigan, 51-22. Northern accumulated 697 yards of total offense against the Broncos, including 494 on the ground. In addition, Chandler Harnish became the 11th quarterback in the NCAA's Football Bowl Subdivision history to gain 200 yards rushing and passing in the same game.

Volleyball: Northern Illinois earned their second consecutive 2-0 weekend with two key wins over MAC East foes Akron and Buffalo. On Friday, the Huskies were pushed to five sets against the Zips, but used a commanding fifth set to propel them to a 3-2 win over UA. NIU returned to the court Saturday night against Buffalo, defeating the Bulls in a 3-0 sweep. Sophomore Lauren Wicinski led the Huskie attack with a career-high seven aces.

Men's Soccer: NIU traveled to Northwestern in their lone match of the week Wednesday. Despite solid defense in the first half and some chances on offense, the Wildcats dropped the Huskies at Lakeside Field, 2-0. The loss was the first for NIU against a Big Ten opponent in over two years.

Women's Soccer: It was a heartbreaking two matches for the Huskies, as they were dealt two one-goal losses at home. On Friday, NIU lost to Eastern Michigan, 1-0, on a windy day at the NIU Soccer Complex. The Huskies returned to action Sunday afternoon with a match against defending MAC champion Central Michigan. Despite limiting the Chippewas' offense to only seven shots on goal, Northern still dropped the match, 1-0.

Cross Country: The Huskies wrapped up their 2011 regular season with a 14th place out of 21 teams showing at the Bradley Classic in Peoria, Ill. Courtney Oldenburg led the way for NIU with a time of 22:42.09, which ranks as the 12th best 6K time in NIU history.

Men's Tennis: NIU headed east to Columbus, Ohio, for the ITA Midwest Regionals. In the main draws, Axel Lagerlof advanced to the Round of 32 before falling to 15th-seeded Stephen Hoh of Illinois in straight sets. In doubles, Maksym Bartiuk and Roman Turtygin also advanced to the Round of 32, but fell to Ohio State's 12th-ranked duo of Kevin Metka and Steven Williams, 8-1.

Women's Golf: Northern Illinois could not solve the Hawthornes Golf and Country Club course Monday and Tuesday in Fishers, Ind., as they placed 14th at the MAC Preview. Allie Parthie led NIU tied for 72nd place with a 171-shot performance.

Six Huskie teams will be in action during the upcoming week, including a pair of men's soccer matches at the NIU Soccer Complex Wednesday and Sunday and volleyball hosting Kent State and MAC-leading Ohio at Victor E. Court.

QUARTERBACK DUEL SATURDAY

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Chandler Harnish 2.jpgAs Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald writes in his preview today, Saturday's 105th Homecoming Game between Northern Illinois and Western Michigan is going to be a showcase for two of the best quarterbacks in the nation. WMU's Alex Carder and Chandler Harnish are 1-2 in the MAC in total offense. It's also a big game for both team's hopes of reaching Detroit for the MAC Championship game.

Rick Armstrong of the Beacon News gave his take on the quarterback duel in this preview that appeared in today's edition.

WILSON BACK WITH JETS

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Congratulations go out to former Northern Illinois University safety Tracy Wilson, who was signed to the Jets practice squad. He originally signed with the Jets Aug 24 as an undrafted free agent. Wilson appeared in the final two preseason games for New York. Wilson played three years at NIU, tallying 171 tackles in 32 games played.

HUSKIES MOVE UP IN RANKINGS

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Wrestling Team 2.jpg
With the start of the 2011-12 season only one month away, WrestlingReport.com unveiled their updated preseason rankings. Among the changes were in the 125 weight class, where Huskie sophomore Nick Smith jumped three spots to No. 26. Additionally, Rob Jillard fell one position in 133 to No. 29.

Outside the individual rankings, The Open Mat looked at the Mid-American Conference in the conference preview series. TOM picked senior Brad Dieckhaus to return to the MAC Tournament final at 184, while Matt Smith (147) and Sam Bennett (157) are projected to finish in the top four at the conference tournament. As a team, here is what they said about NIU:

"The Huskies will look towards Dieckhaus to lead a rather young team this year. Did you notice that eight of ten starters are only sophomores? The Huskies will have a very young group this season. Look for (Caleb) Busson and (Mike) Lukowski to take steps forward and possibly move forward from their finishes last year .... They are a very young team so that could change, but it depends on how the younger guys develop during the season."


MAINTAINING SUCCESS

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Defensive Stop.jpgThe Northern Illinois University defense turned in its best performance of the season, giving up three points and allowing 64 yards of total offense, including one yard rushing, in the Huskies' 40-10 victory over Kent State. As Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune writes, maintaining that level of play will be the key for the Huskies' success against Western Michigan.

DERNBACH MOVES TO COACHING ROLE

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Kent_Dernbach.jpgMen's Basketball Director of Operations Kent Dernbach is leaving NIU to join Wisconsin-Stevens Point as an assistant coach. Dernbach, a native of Almond, Wis., returns to his home state to pursue his goal of coaching on the collegiate level. He joins a Wisconsin-Stevens Point program that has won three NCAA Division III national championships in the last eight seasons. A Director of Operations performs numerous behind the scenes tasks for the program and, while we wish him all the best at UWSP, Kent will be missed at NIU. 

STAR OF THE WEEK

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Sims-Mathew-2010-013.jpgNorthern Illinois University placekicker Mathew Sims was named a "Star of the Week" by the Lou Groza National Collegiate Place-Kicker Award. The sophomore from Hannibal, Mo. was a perfect four-for-four Saturday in NIU's 40-10 victory over Kent State. Sims connected on field goals of 31, 32, 44 and 34. I was his second consecutive four field goal performance and the first four-for-four day of his career. His 44-yarder ties a career high set earlier this season against Cal Poly. Sims is now 10-of-13 on the season in field goals and is 26-of-27 on PATs.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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Five Huskie teams were in action during the past week. Among the highlights were Saturday's football win over Kent State and volleyball's two wins in conference play.

Football: Northern Illinois returned to Huskie Stadium Saturday to post a dominating 40-10 victory over Kent State. The Huskie defense only allowed seven rushing yards and 70 yards of total offense on the day, while recording 14 tackles for loss and seven sacks in the rout. Chandler Harnish found the endzone twice and Matthew Sims was a perfect four-for-four on field goals.

Volleyball: The Huskies won both of their matches during the week to improve to 4-2 in MAC play. On Thursday, NIU swept Western Michigan, 3-0, while sophomore Lauren Wicinski became the fastest Huskie to join the 1,000 kill club. Northern doubled Thursday's performance Saturday night by topping Miami (Ohio), 3-0, on NIU Volleyball Alumni Night.

Men's Soccer: The Huskies kicked off a three-game road trip Tuesday when they headed north to face Marquette. After going scoreless in regulation and in the first overtime, Jayson LeSeth launched a shot into the right corner of the MU net to win it for the Huskies, 1-0. NIU then traveled east to face defending NCAA champion Akron, where they fell to the No. 3 Zips, 2-0.

Women's Soccer: Northern Illinois tallied their first MAC win of the season Friday night, when they defeated Buffalo, 1-0. Lauren Eberts scored the lone goal with a marker in the 67th minute. On Sunday, NIU and Kent State combined for five goals in the match. However, KSU's two scores in the final four minutes of play edged them ahead of NIU, 3-2.

Women's Golf: The Huskies closed out their home tournament on Monday by placing seventh in the 12-team field. Allie Parthie paced NIU with a tie for ninth place, while Kelsie Passolt and Katie Kuhn both posted top 30 finishes at the Kishwaukee Country Club.

Northern Illinois' homecoming week will feature seven teams in action, including Saturday's crucial football game against Western Michigan and two home women's soccer matches.

PART II OF GORDON-SEMISCH FEATURE

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Part II of Ryan Wood's two-part story on the journey Donovan Gordon and Tim Semisch took to Northern Illinois University after the football program at Nebraska-Omaha was cut. As the story points out, both men arrived at NIU, but took different paths to get here.

FIVE MINUTES WITH KRISTIN HOFFMAN

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Hoffman_Kristin.jpgThe Northern Star recently caught up with volleyball's senior setter Kristin Hoffman for a "Five Minutes With" session.  Click here to read.

UNLIKELY HUSKIES

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Semisch-Tim.jpgRyan Wood of the Daily Chronicle sat down with a pair of unlikely Huskies, Donovan Gordon and Tim Semisch. Both were football players at Nebraska-Omaha until the school decided to cut its successful football and wrestling programs.When the two were looking for schools to further their education and football playing careers, they chose Northern Illinois. Thursday's story is part one of a two-part story on the events that transpired to bring the two to NIU.

HALL OF FAME WEEKEND IS NEARING

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Northern Illinois Hall of Fame Weekend is rapidly approaching and the Huskies will be honoring their 30th induction banquet Friday Oct. 7 and introducing the Hall of Famers at halftime of Saturday's contest against Kent State. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.


As part of Colleges Against Cancer and in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Northern Illinois will be handing out Pink Huskie Buff's, made popular by the hit CBS show "Survivor", to all fans upon entrance to the game.


And finally, this weekend will be the start of NIU Foundation's "Huddle With Faculty," a pre game social that will occur before every home football game at the Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center in 2012. The inaugural "Huddle with the Faculty - Better Living Through Mannequins," will take place Saturday.


For more info on "Huddle With Faculty," click here


DOEREN ADJUSTING TO THE ROLE

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Doeren 7.jpgAs Ryan Wood of the Daily Chronicle writes in this feature, Dave Doeren is adjusting well to his role as a head coach. Doeren, who came to NIU after serving as defensive coordinator at Wisconsin is in his first head coach position and understands his role.

"I think the process I'm going through as a head coach, you always want to do more," Doeren said. "You have to decide, at what point are you being a master of nothing? If I try to do everything, I'm not helping anybody."

WICINSKI FEATURED IN THE BEACON NEWS

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Wiz - Beacon-News.jpgAfter going off for a career-best 39 kills Saturday at Toledo, the nation's kills leader Lauren Wicinski was featured by Rick Armstrong in the Beacon News on Sunday.  Click here to read.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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It was a mixed bag of results for the nine Huskie teams in action this week, including football and both soccer programs dropping their respective games over the weekend. Yet, there were plenty of bright spots as well among the teams, including top five finishes for both men's and women's golf.

Football: The Huskies put up 370 passing yards and 587 yards of total offense Saturday in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., but it was not enough as the Huskies dropped their MAC opener to Central Michigan, 48-41. Despite the loss, quarterback Chandler Harnish broke another NIU record, as he eclipsed George Bork's 48-year-old school mark for career passing yards with the top passing yardage game of his Huskie career.

Volleyball: For the second straight week, the Huskie volleyball team split their weekend matches against conference foes. NIU dropped their Friday night tilt, 3-2, at Ball State, despite leading the Cardinals 2-1 through three sets. The Huskies would recover Saturday, though, as they shot down the Toledo Rockets by a 3-1 margin. During the match, Lauren Wicinski came within one kill of tying NIU's all-time career record.

Men's Soccer: NIU dropped their MAC opener Saturday in DeKalb to the Buffalo Bulls, 2-1, in double overtime. The Huskies outshot UB, 19-6, but only James Stevenson's 73rd minute shot found the back of the net. The Bulls, however, would score on a free kick in the 108th minute to seal the victory.

Women's Soccer: The Huskies continued their MAC schedule at home over the weekend. However, both matches ended in one-goal losses for NIU. On Friday, Akron used a 63rd minute goal and stellar goaltending to down the Huskies, 1-0. The results improved on Sunday against Ohio. The Huskies used a goal from Samantha Hill to tie the game at 1-1, but the Bobcats retook the lead almost immediately following the lone NIU marker to win, 2-1.

Men's Golf: Northern Illinois played in two tournaments during the week with far different results both times. NIU traveled to Louisville on Monday and Tuesday for the Cardinal Intercollegiate, where they finished in second place behind Shawn Foley's -1, 143 performance. They returned to the course during the weekend for Illinois State's D.A. Weibring Invitational, where they finished 11th as a team.

Women's Golf: The Huskie women's golf squad competed in two tournaments during the week within the state of Illinois. On Monday and Tuesday, the team headed south for the SIUE Intercollegiate. Keyed by top ten performances from Allie Parthie and Taylor Ellet, the team took fifth place overall. NIU returned home Sunday for the NIU Huskie Classic at Kishwaukee Country Club. Currently, the team sits in eighth place with Monday's competition underway.

Cross Country: The Huskies raced in the Windy City over the weekend at the Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational, where they claimed 20th out of the 45-team field. Courtney Oldenburg led the way for NIU with a 70th place finish, timing in at 18:55.50. Meanwhile, Claire McAuley also took home a top 100 finish, placing 91st with a time of 19:10.60.

Men's Tennis: The NIU men's tennis team traveled to Muncie, Ind., over the weekend for the 33rd annual Ball State Invitational. In singles, the team went 3-5 behind Roman Turtygin, Axel Lagerlof and Max Phillips' wins. Meanwhile, the Huskies tallied three wins in doubles and only lost two matches due to injuries.

Women's Tennis: Northern Illinois faced five other conference foes over the weekend, as they competed at Western Michigan's MAC Invitational. On the weekend, the team posted six wins total, including two doubles wins from Haley Dekkinga and Nelle Youel. In addition, Youel also posted two singles wins during the weekend tournament.

NIU heads into their first full week of October with a packed slate of action, including two home volleyball matches and Saturday's home football game against Kent State.
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