January 2012 Archives

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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Six Huskie teams were in action over the past week with several big performances brought in by a variety of NIU athletes.

Men's Basketball: Northern Illinois lost both of their games during the week to drop to 2-17 on the year. On the road at Kent State Wednesday, the Huskies dropped a 90-56 game to the Golden Flashes. Keith Gray led Northern with 15 points on the night. On Saturday, NIU lost to Buffalo, 74-59, as Adbel Nader paced the Huskies with 11 points.

Women's Basketball: The Huskies won both of their games over the week and have now won three of their last four games. Wednesday saw NIU defeat Akron, 72-66, marking the first time since 2006 that they had won at UA. Claire Jakubicek led Northern with 18 points in the game. The cardinal & Black followed that up with a 66-55 win against the Kent State Golden Flashes, as Courtney Shelton tallied 23 points in the winning effort.

Track & Field: The Northern Illinois track & field team blasted the competition on a record-setting Saturday at the IWU Invitational. The Huskies won 11 event titles on the day, including taking the top spot in every running event in which an NIU athlete competed. Northern also broke six meet, five track and two school records in the process.

Gymnastics: Northern Illinois gymnasts Ashley Guerra and Megan Melendez recorded first and second place finishes on uneven parallel bars and balance beam, respectively, but the Huskie gymnastics team dropped a dual meet to visiting New Hampshire, 193.200-191.875 Saturday night at the NIU Convocation Center. Northern Illinois fell to 1-3 on the season while New Hampshire improved to 3-1.

Men's Tennis: The Northern Illinois men's tennis team opened its season flawlessly with a pair of wins over Division III power Wisconsin-Whitewater, 7-0, and Butler, 5-2. It is the first time the Huskies have opened the season 2-0 since at least 2004.

Women's Tennis: NIU went 2-1 on their season-opening weekend in Des Moines, Iowa, defeating South Dakota and SIU-Edwardsville to open their season. After falling to Drake in their first match Saturday, the Huskies came back and topped the Coyotes, 6-1. On Sunday, the team capped their weekend with a 4-3 win against SIUE.

NIU opens the month of February with six teams in action. Men's basketball hosts Ohio at the Convocation Center Wednesday night, while women's basketball welcomes the Bobcats to DeKalb on Saturday afternoon. Gymnastics wraps up their three-meet homestand Saturday in Victor E. Court against Ball State.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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With classes getting started again, the schedule did not lighten up for the Huskies, as five teams were in action during the past week.

Men's Basketball: The Huskies dropped two conference games to MAC West opponents during the week, as they lost to Toledo and Ball State. On Wednesday, NIU failed to get any momentum going against the Rockets in a 71-41 defeat on the road. Keith Gray and Stian Berg both led the Huskies with eight points in the loss. Northern returned home for a Saturday night showdown with Ball State, but it was the Cardinals who emerged with a 75-65 victory. Abdel Naber scored 26 points for NIU.

Women's Basketball: Northern Illinois split their two conference games during the week, breaking their six-game skid in the process. In a mid-week showdown in Kalamazoo, Mich., the Huskies got their first MAC win of the year, stifling Western Michigan's offense in a 53-41 Huskie win. On Sunday, the team welcomed Buffalo to the NIU Convocation Center. However, it was the Bulls who took a 62-46 win in divisional crossover play.

Wrestling: NIU saw their losing streak extend to three games over the weekend, as they dropped two critical MAC duals on the road. Facing defending conference champion Central Michigan Friday, Kevin Fanta, Matt Mougin and Mike Lukowski each won their respective matches, but it was the Chippewas who were on the winning end of a 24-9 decision. The Huskies faced off against the Eastern Michigan Eagles on Sunday, but lost by a 22-9 margin in Ypsilanti.

Track & Field: Northern Illinois claimed third place Saturday at the Illini Classic in Champaign, Ill., by scoring points in 14 of the 16 events. Courtney Oldenburg and Jenner Sio highlighted the Huskie performances, as Oldenburg placed second in the mile with a career-best time of 4:59.71 and Sio took second in the triple jump. NIU defeated SIU-Edwardsville, Southeast Missouri, Tennessee State, Lincoln (Mo.), Murray State and Bradley in the final team standings and were only outscored by Illinois and Missouri.

Gymnastics: NIU set a new season-high in total points, but it wasn't enough in a 194.575-193.350 defeat against Western Michigan in DeKalb. Megan Melendez won the balance beam, Tanya Rachan took top honors in the floor exercise and Kim Gotlund excelled in the all-around for NIU on the day.

Men's and women's tennis kick off their spring seasons this upcoming week, as the men host Butler and UW-Whitewater in Rockford and the women head to Des Moines, Iowa, to battle Drake, SIU-Edwardsville and South Dakota. Additionally, men's and women's basketball host their final doubleheader of the season Saturday, while gymnastics hosts New Hampshire Saturday night.

ALL-STAR WEEKEND RECAP

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Harnish-Shrine.jpgFive Northern Illinois University football players, Chandler Harnish, Scott Wedige, Trevor Olson and linebackers Jordan Delegal and Pat Schiller, played one last college game over the weekend as the quintet participated in three different all-star games this past weekend.  

Harnish was voted team captain and started for the West team in the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla. Saturday. The 2011 Vern Smith Award winner threw for 52 yards on 8-of-14 passing, while rushing for nine yards on five carries including a one-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. The West team won the contest, 24-17. Harnish received praise from a few NFL scouts in attendance for his arm strength and leadership skills. Many feel he is worth a draft pick.
 
As Harnish's game was winding down, another was getting started. The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl featured a trio of Huskies as Wedige and Schiller were members of the American squad, while Olson suited up for the National team. Olson has bragging rights over his two former teammates as the National team won, 20-14.

Delegal, who arguably had the best day of all the Huskies, took part in the Battle of Florida. A member of the victorious North squad coached by Florida State legend Bobby Bowden, Delegal had seven tackles, including a tackle for loss, and a 29-yard interception return. The North won the contest in dominating fashion, 51-3.

GET TO KNOW SHAAKIRA HAYWOOD

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NIU women's basketball junior Shaakira Haywood was recently featured in the MAC's latest "Getting to Know" video series.  Click here to watch!

NIU Weekly Set for Saturday

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Huskie fans, remember to get your weekly update of all the news from NIU Athletics, and hear interviews with head coaches every Saturday morning at 7:30 am on WSCR 670 AM The Score on "NIU Weekly." 

Hosts Andy Garcia and NIU Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher bring you up-to-date on Huskie sports.  This week's special guest is first-year Northern Illinois gymnastics coach Sam Morreale, who makes his NIU Weekly debut to talk about his team's season to date and upcoming homestand. 

Don't miss the show this Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. on WSCR 670 AM The Score! 

HUSKIE ALL STARS

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All-Star Game Picture.jpgFive Huskies have one more college game to play as quarterback Chandler Harnish, center Scott Wedige, tackle Trevor Olson and linebackers Pat Schiller and Jordan Delegal are participating in three college all-star games Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012.

Harnish was named team captain and will start for the West team of the East-West Shrine Game. The game, which will be played at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., will be televised by the NFL Network. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. CT. Harnish, the 2011 recipient of the Vern Smith Leadership Award, earned Most Valuable Player honors in NIU's 38-20 victory over Arkansas State in the 2012 GoDaddy.com Bowl. Here's a feature on NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish in the Fort Wayne News Sentinel.

A trio of Huskies, Olson, Schiller and Wedige, will be playing in the AstroTurf NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Los Angeles, Calif. Wedige and Schiller will be teammates for at least one more game as they will be playing for the American team, while Olson will be playing for the National squad. The game will be played at the Home Depot Center in Southern California and will kick off at 5 p.m. CT and will be televised by NBC Sports Network.

Delegal, a native of Miami, Fla., is playing for the North team in the Battle of Florida. The game, which will be kickoff at 7 p.m. CT, will be televised live by Fox College Sports. The game features players that are draft eligible and have either been born in Florida or have played high school or college football in Florida. Former Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden will coach the North.

All-Star Game Line Up
East-West Shrine, 3 p.m. CT, NFL Network

AstroTurf NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, 5 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus)

The Battle of Florida, 7 p.m. CT., Fox College Sports

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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The Huskies continued their busy January, as five teams were in action in the final week of winter break.

Men's Basketball: The Huskies split their two games during the week, falling at Western Michigan and defeating Central Michigan Saturday in DeKalb. On Wednesday, the Huskies pushed the Broncos to the brink, but were unable to stop WMU in the end, falling 77-68 in Kalamazoo. They rebounded in a big way on Saturday, though, as they knocked off CMU, 74-66, behind Abdel Nader's 22-point performance.

Women's Basketball: Northern Illinois' losing streak reached six games during the week, as they dropped close games to Ball State and Toledo. After trailing by 12 at halftime Wednesday in Muncie, Ind., the Huskies came from behind to take the lead, but were unable to hold off the Cardinals in a 50-43 defeat. Saturday saw a heart-wrenching loss to MAC West favorite Toledo, who topped NIU, 49-47, in a last-second shot.

Wrestling: The Huskies fell to 0-2 in MAC action Friday, as they dropped a 27-6 decision to the Ohio Bobcats in Athens. Kevin Fanta and Mike Lukowski both recorded wins for NIU, but the Bobcats' five-straight wins from 149 through 184 doomed the Huskies.

Track & Field: Northern Illinois took two event titles and 15 top-five finishes Saturday at the Illini Open in Champaign, Ill. Rebecca Cronin won the 600 meters with a career-best time of 1:35.67, while Courtney Oldenburg took the 3000 meters in her 2011-12 debut, clocking in at 10:24.77. In addition, Rasheta Butler and Sidra Sherrill both earned multiple top-five finishes.

Gymnastics: Head coach Sam Morreale earned his first career win as a head coach Friday night with the Huskies' 190.350-190.100 win against Southeast Missouri State. Trailing after two rotations, NIU recorded strong performances in the floor exercise and balance beam to overcome the Redhawks. The victory evens the Huskies' record at 1-1 on the year.

Those same five teams will also be competing this week. The highlights include men's basketball facing Ball State Saturday at 7 p.m. and a two-sport dip Sunday, as gymnastics competes against Western Michigan at 2 p.m. in Victor E. Court and women's basketball takes on Eastern Michigan at 3 p.m.

WHO'S COUNTING

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Tommylee Lewis return.jpgSeveral media outlets are starting to compile their Top 10 or in some cases Top 100 games/moments of the 2011 season and Northern Illinois makes a few of them. Andrea Adelson of ESPN.com posted her Top 10 non-AQ moments of 2011 and the Huskies' 63-60 victory over Toledo checked in at No. 9. 

The website sbnation.com delved even deeper by compiling a list of the Top 100 games of 2011. Three of the Huskies' contests have a place on the list. NIU's shootout with Kansas comes in at No. 93, while the Huskies' incredible comeback over Ohio in the 2011 MAC Championship. The Toledo game cracked the Top 10, ranking eighth.

FEATURES, FEATURES AND MORE FEATURES

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Dave-Doeren-8.jpgThere were a slew of features on NIU players and coaches posted the last two weeks. Enjoy!

Dave Doeren
ESPNChicago.com, Doeren's first season at NIU a big success

Matt Canada
Rockford Register Star, New boss same as old boss for NIU offense

Jimmie Ward
Daily Chronicle, Home sweet home for Ward

Jordan Delegal
Daily Chronicle, Conversion complete for NIU linebacker

Pat Schiller
Press Register, Northern Illinois' Pat Schiller stepped up big at linebacker

Sean Evans
Northwest Florida Daily News, Former FWB standout Evans enjoys 'homecoming' with NIU

Community service visit in Mobile
Fox TV, Huskies talk to troubled juveniles

Bowl feature
ESPNChicago.com, Huskies hope bowl wait is worth it

RETURN OF THE MAC

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2011 was a great year for football schools of the Mid-American Conference. The league went a nation's best 4-1 in bowl games this season, tying with Conference USA. Northern Illinois' 38-20 victory over Arkansas State clinched the top spot for the MAC and the conference went a perfect 4-0 versus other Non-AQ leagues (2-0 vs Mountain West, 1-0 vs. Western Athletic and 1-0 vs. Sun Belt). Andrea Adelson of ESPN.com gave the league some props in her blog post, while Paul Myerberg ranked the MAC ahead of the WAC and Sun Belt.

UNSUNG UNIT

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Olson-Trevor-1.jpgWhile Chandler Harnish garners much of the praise, and rightfully so, for the success the Huskies have enjoyed on offense this season, one unit toils in anonymity. The Huskie offense line is the backbone of the offensive unit and, at the end of the season, they were getting their due. Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star had this feature story and accompanying blog post on the Huskie front five.

Josh Bean of the Mobile Press-Register also filed a feature story on the O-line as well when he was covering the Huskies during bowl week. Rick Armstrong of the Sun-Times, who was down in Mobile covering the Huskies, wrote this feature on left tackle Trevor Olson.

LOOKING BACK AND LOOKING AHEAD

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Jordan Lynch-Bowl.jpgWith the 2011 season in the books, it's a good time to reflect on an amazing year for the Huskie football team. The Daily Chronicle editorial board posted this editorial on its site today. ESPNChicago.com posted this review of the season and outlook for 2012, while Ryan Wood of the Daily Chronicle broke down Chandler Harnish's successor, Jordan Lynch, in this piece

TOP 25 TALK

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End of Practice.jpgFollowing NIU's bowl victory there was the hope the Huskies could crack the Top 25 in either the Coaches or Associated Press Poll.  The Chicago Tribune, Daily Chronicle and Beacon News all had stories laying out NIU's case for a spot in the polls. However, the Huskies were left out, finishing 26th in the Coaches Poll and 28th in the AP Poll. The Huskies did crack one poll.

Paul Myerberg of presnapread.com ranked the Huskies 24th, just behind Florida State and ahead of Nebraska in his season ending poll. Myerberg had the Huskies ranked 59th in the nation in his preseason poll behind fellow Mid-American Conference foes Ohio (52) and Toledo (56).

BOWL GAME RECAPS

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Seniors with Bowl Trophy.jpgThe Northern Illinois University football team closed out a record-setting season with a 38-20 victory over Arkansas State in the 2012 GoDaddy.com Bowl. Of course the most complete coverage, including post-game notes, photo gallery and high light video can only be found on NIUHuskies.com. Below are various stories from around the Chicagoland area and nationally.

Chicago Tribune, NIU beats Arkansas State in GoDaddy.com Bowl

Sun-Times, Chandler Harnish, Huskies win GoDaddy.com Bowl

Daily Herald, 'Storybook ending' for Harnish, NIU

Daily Chronicle, Going out a winner

cbssports.com, NIU rips Ark. St. for ninth-straight win

ESPN.com, Instant analysis: NIU 38, ASU 20

If you want to relive the Huskies entire bowl trip from touching down in Mobile, to the celebration at the team hotel following the game, you can find it all at Bowl Central. Complete with blog posts, photo galleries and videos, Bowl Central has you, and the Huskies, covered.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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The first week of 2012 was a busy one for Huskie athletics, with six teams competing. Among the highlights were football's GoDaddy.com Bowl victory, wrestling's dramatic come-from-behind win against Lock Haven and track & field's record-setting weekend in Kansas.

Football: The 2011-12 season ended on a positive note for the Huskies, who defeated the Arkansas State Red Wolves Sunday in the GoDaddy.com Bowl, 38-20. Quarterback Chandler Harnish was named the game's MVP after passing for 274 yards and two touchdowns, while Martel Moore caught eight passes for 224 yards and a touchdown in the victory. Meanwhile, the Huskie defense forced five ASU turnovers and collected three sacks in the game.

Men's Basketball: Northern Illinois hung tough with Eastern Michigan in both schools' MAC openers, but it was the Eagles who came away with a 47-40 win in DeKalb. Tim Toler led the Huskies with 11 points in the game, while Zach Miller added nine points and four assists in the game.

Women's Basketball: The Huskies had a rough opening to their conference season this week, as they dropped their first two games of the MAC slate. On Thursday, NIU was unable to contain Central Michigan's offense in an 86-67 loss to the Chippewas. Satavia Taylor led the Huskies with 17 points in the game. The Huskies' struggles continued Sunday in Ypsilanti, Mich., where they were bested by the Eastern Michigan Eagles, 64-52.

Wrestling: Northern Illinois opened up the second half of their season Sunday with a thrilling 22-16 win against the Lock Haven Bald Eagles. Trailing 16-3 at the halfway point of the dual, the Huskies stormed back, winning the final five matches to stun LHU. The victory gives NIU six on the season, surpassing their total from all of last year.

Track & Field: The Huskies kicked off 2012 with an impressive performance Saturday at the Bill Easton Classic in Lawrence, Kan. Jamie Burr highlighted the day, winning the 1000m run with a school record time of 2:59.50. Additionally, Roneisha Frye (60m hurdles) and Rebecca Cronin (600 yards) also won their respective events to lead the Huskies.

Gymnastics: Northern Illinois opened their 2012 season Sunday in DeKalb, where they lost to the UIC Flames, 191.575-188.350. Sonda Clore led the Huskies with a win in the uneven bars, while taking top five finishes in the beam and vault. Also, Tanya Rachan won the beam and floor routine.

The Huskies will be on the road for most of the upcoming week, with Saturday's basketball doubleheader being the only event in DeKalb. Wrestling, track & field and gymnastics also hit the road this weekend for competition.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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Three sports - men's basketball, women's basketball and wrestling - had a busy holiday schedule, with each team competing on multiple days over that timeframe.

Men's Basketball: The Huskies split their two games during the two week stretch, as Mark Montgomery earned his first win as a head coach. After dropping a close 59-48 decision against Valparaiso on Dec. 20, the Huskies got their first win of the year with a 72-46 drubbing of Roosevelt. In the second half alone, NIU held the Lakers to 7.4 percent shooting.

Women's Basketball: Northern Illinois went 1-2 over the last two weeks as they wrapped up their non-conference schedule. The Huskies got their holidays off to a good start Dec. 22 when they upended Indiana State, 47-43, in a defensive struggle. Yet, NIU dropped both of their end-of-the-year road games, falling 72-62 at Eastern Illinois and 65-46 at No. 19 DePaul.

Wrestling: The Huskies concluded 2011 with two big meets within the Land of Lincoln. On Dec. 21, NIU defeated Cleveland State and Cumberland, but lost to Kent State in the MAC opener at the NIU Quad Meet. The next week, NIU took 26th place at the nationally-renowned Midlands Championships in Evanston, Ill., where Rob Jillard led the Huskies with a 4-2 record at 133.

NIU Athletics gets back into full gear this week with six different teams competing. Among the highlights include the GoDaddy.com Bowl, where the Huskies will face off against the Arkansas State Red Wolves in Mobile, Ala. Additionally, women's basketball hosts Central Michigan Thursday at 7 p.m. and men's basketball hosts Eastern Michigan Saturday at 3 p.m., while wrestling and gymnastics collaborate in the inaugural NIU Beauty and the Beast Meet Sunday at 2 p.m.