FORMER HUSKIE WINS THIRD ITALIAN LEAGUE TITLE

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Former Northern Illinois baseball player Joe Mazzuca, who closed his collegiate career with  the Huskies in 2003, has established a career for himself playing in the Italian Baseball League, winning his third Italian Baseball League Championship with T & A San Marino last Sunday.

After playing three seasons in the Florida Marlins organization, who drafted him in the 12th round in 2003 and reaching as-high-as the single A level in Greensboro, Mazzuca tried his hand in the Italian League where he has played the last eight seasons of his professional career. 

Mazzuca began his career with De Angelis Godo in 2006 with the Knights, eventually moving to Fortitudo Unipol Banca Bologna in 2008 where he played four seasons. He won his first Italian League Championship in Bologna in 2009. The last two years, Mazzuca has played for the baseball club in San Marino and has won two championships with the club. He has also represented Team Italy at the international level, winning the 2010 European Championship over the Netherlands for the country and participating in Olympic qualifying.

On Sunday, September 22, San Marino won game five of the Italian League Championship Series, 4-1, over Telemarket Rimini to claim its second-consecutive championship over Rimini. Mazzuca led the charge in the top of the second inning, driving a solo home run over the left field wall in the top of the second inning to give San Marino the early lead.

Watch the highlights of the championship game below posted by the Italian Baseball and Softball Federation (Federazione Italiana Baseball Softball).

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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Volleyball - The Huskies played four matches over the last week, going 1-3 in those affairs. Their record now stands at 5-6 on the season. The win came against Southern Utah in the New Mexico State tournament. NIU featured a balanced offensive attack in that one, with Jenna Radtke, Sarah Angelos, and Mackenzie Roddy each having more than 10 kills in all.

Men's Soccer - Northern Illinois split two games in the NIU Adidas Invitational, falling 1-0 against Butler on Friday, but winning 2-1 against Green Bay on Sunday. Sean Totsch and Jayson LeSeth each had goals in the win against the Green Bay Phoenix. The Huskies are now 2-4-0 on the season.

Women's Soccer - NIU went 0-1-1 on the weekend, dropping the first game at Green Bay 1-0 and tying Western Illinois in a home game, 1-1. Cori Frankenberg scored her second goal of the season in the game against WIU. NIU is now 2-4-1.

Men's Tennis - Northern Illinois pulled down the best team score in the River Forest Invitational. Jovan Zeljkovic won both flights he took part in; the #4 Singles and #3 Doubles. In that doubles bracket, he teamed up with Matt Lynch. The Huskies also had several players finish third in their flights.

Women's Tennis - Arantza de la Torre and Cristina Alvarez both won flights in the Chicago State Invitational. The team also had other players and doubles teams who finished third or better in their flights. The Huskies don't have another event until the first weekend of October.

Cross Country - The Huskies finished fourth in the Illinois State Invitational on Friday, held at the Weibring Golf Course in Normal, Ill. Ali Olson produced the best finish for NIU, taking 16h place in the event. She had a time of 18:19.24 as she crossed the finish line.

Women's Golf - NIU competed in the Cougar Classic, hosted by Chicago State at Harborside International Golf Center. Play ran on Monday and Tuesday earlier this week. Samantha Coyne faired best for the Huskies, finishing eighth among individual players. As a team, the Huskies placed seventh overall.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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Volleyball: NIU played three matches over the week, going 2-1 to improve its record to 4-3 on the season. On Wednesday, the Huskies played a back-and-forth match against Western Illinois and won in five sets. On Saturday, NIU faced No. 3 USC and dropped the match in four sets. Later that day, the Huskies took on Belmont and won in four sets. Also of note is that Sarah Angelos became the 20th member of the Huskie 1000-kill club with her performances in those matches.

Women's Soccer: NIU traveled to Brookings S.D. for two games at the Jackrabbit Invitational. They ended up losing both. On Friday, it was a 3-1 loss against South Dakota in which Nicole Gobbo scored her second goal of the season. On Sunday, a late header from opposing South Dakota State sealed a 2-1 defeat for the Huskies.

Men's Soccer: The Huskies faced stiff competition in Bearcat Soccer Classic held in Cincinnati, Ohio over the weekend. Both games ended in overtime losses. The first was a 3-2 loss against Evansville on Friday. On Sunday, they took on No. 14 Saint Louis and lost 1-0. An interesting bit here is that in the second game, the Huskies played man down for more than half of the game and were able to hold the opposition scoreless until a second overtime period.

Cross Country: The Huskies took first their first cross country meet in dominating fashion, taking six of the first seven finish  spots. Held at the NIU North 40 on Friday, NIU had all but two runners place in the top 14. Leah Laffety had the best time, crossing the finish line at 19:29.85.

Men's Golf: NIU finished 15th in the first golf tournament of the year, held at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. Nick Huggins had the best single round of Huskie golfers, posting a 74 (+2) in the second round on Saturday.

Women's Golf: NIU placed 13th as a team in the Redbird Invitational, hosted by Illinois State University at the Weibring Golf Club. Sydney Brickey had the best scores for the huskies (76, 82, 79), scoring 237 overall.

Free GameDay Parking Available for NIU Students

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Northern Illinois University students will now have better access to some of the best parking at Huskie Stadium on NIU football game days.  Parking on the grass lot on the East Side of the stadium is now free to any Northern Illinois student with a valid OneCard on game day. 

NIU students are invited to tailgate on the east side of Huskie Stadium beginning five hours before every home game for free on a first-come, first-serve basis.  The driver must simply show his or her valid NIU OneCard at the entrance to the lot off of Stadium Drive.  The lot will be available until the 200 spaces allocated for student parking are filled. 

NIU Athletics will also sell a limited number of season student parking passes which will provide a GUARANTEED spot on the east grass up until 30 minutes before kickoff.  Season passes are available for $25 and can be purchased Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the NIU Athletics External Office in Suite 213 of the Convocation Center.

All cars must follow Northern Illinois' established guidelines for tailgating regarding parking spaces, music and prohibited items.  For more information, call 815-753-PACK (7225) and press 1 for tickets.   

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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Women's Soccer: The Huskies went 1-1 on the weekend. On Friday, the team dropped a weather-troubled game at Purdue by a  4-1 final. On Sunday, the Huskies beat Lewis 2-1 in a double-overtime thriller.

Men's Soccer: Northern Illinois split two games over the weekend at the Wolstein Classic in Columbus, Ohio. The first game went well, as the Huskies beat Cincinnati 3-0 on Friday. Unfortunately, the second game resulted in a 2-0 loss to Ohio State on Sunday.

Volleyball: The NIU volleyball team went 2-2 to start the season. Wins came against Green Bay (3-2) and Liberty (3-0) on Friday and Saturday respectively. The Huskies lost a tough one against Ohio State (3-2) on Saturday night and dropped the match against Missouri State (3-1) on Labor Day.

Football: Came away with an exciting 30-27 victory at Iowa on Saturday. Jordan Lynch had 275 yards passing with 3 touchdowns. Jimmie Ward intercepted a pass toward the end of the game to help set up the game-winning field goal from Mathew Sims.


Storify: A Recap of NIU Football Game Week 1

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Photo by @NWLBaseball (Northwoods Baseball League Twitter)

It started with a Mid-American Conference West Division Championship last spring. Now, members of the Northern Illinois baseball team have found success on their summer baseball teams in the Northwoods League.

Relief pitchers Anthony Andres and Ben Neumann both played their collegiate summer baseball in the Northwoods League and in the state of Wisconsin as Andres played for the Eau Claire Express and Neumann with his hometown Madison Mallards.

Andres, who finished his the 2013 campaign at NIU with a 3.86 earned run average in 30.1 innings of relief for the Huskies. The senior to be made his Northwoods League debut on June 28 at Wisconsin Rapids and surrendered a home run in his first pitch, followed by three more runs and five hits in 0.2 innings of work. Andres would follow with 26-straight scoreless innings of baseball for the Express. To read more on Andres' impressive run, click here.

Neumann, a junior from Verona, Wis., was one of the Mallards most-consistent pitchers in 2013 as he made 20 appearances in relief with 36.2 innings of work. He finished the year with a 1.96 ERA, a 3-2 record, 27 strikeouts and 10 walks. While statistically Neumann's season was a success, his team followed that same path of success as it won its first Northwoods League World Series since 2004 as it defeated the Dulth Huskies 2-0 in the best of three series. To read more about the Madison Mallards win, click here.

Both players return to Northern Illinois for its 2014 campaign, set to begin mid-February.

HUSKIES IN THE NFL - PRESEASON WEEK 1 RECAP

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Week One of the 2013 NFL Preseason is in the books and all 14 former Huskies saw their field for their respective teams. Here is a breakdown of how each individual did for their team.

LB Pat Schiller & WR Martel Moore, Atlanta Falcons
Schiller was one of Atlanta's standouts on defense Thursday in a 34-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Geneva, Ill., native tallied five tackles for the Falcons to rank second on the team. Additionally, he played on 45% of the team's defensive snaps and 20% of the special teams plays. Meanwhile, Moore did not record any stats, but was in on 10 offensive plays at the end of the game.

CB Rashaan Melvin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
One of Tampa Bay's training camp surprises so far, Melvin got his first live game action Thursday night in the Buccaneers' 44-16 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Though he only notched one tackle, the former Huskie was in on 41% of Tampa Bay's defensive snaps and 54% of the special teams plays.

WR Perez Ashford, Seattle Seahawks
After bouncing around between several teams during the offseason, Ashford landed in Seattle just over a week ago and has already made strides in training camp. Thursday night in a 31-10 Seahawk win at San Diego, the former Huskie wide receiver got some time at punt returner and made the most of his opportunity. After returning his first kick two yards, Ashford broke his second return for 27 yards to get the Seahawks inside Charger territory late in the fourth quarter.

DB Tracy Wilson, Tennessee Titans
The veteran Wilson is off to a good start in his third preseason in the NFL. The former Huskie recorded three tackles in Tennessee's 22-21 loss to Washington and played 35% of the team's defensive snaps and 33% of the special teams plays.

LB Sean Progar & RB Chad Spann, New York Jets
Former Huskie teammates reunited in the NFL, both Progar and Spann made sound contributions in the Jets' 26-17 loss at Detroit Friday night. On offense, Spann gained two yards on three carries, but it was his 23-yard catch and run in the third quarter that helped set up a New York field goal. For Progar, he made one tackle in his NFL debut.

QB Chandler Harnish & WR Nathan Palmer, Indianapolis Colts
In Indianapolis' 44-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills Sunday afternoon, both Harnish and Palmer saw extended playing time. The former NIU QB and MAC MVP Harnish finished the day 14-of-33 passing for 109 yards and an interception. Meanwhile, Palmer caught one pass from Harnish for no gain.

LB Alan Baxter, Pittsburgh Steelers
Baxter saw the field late in Pittsburgh's 18-13 loss to the New York Giants and made one tackle. Additionally, he played 26% of the defensive plays and 42% of the special teams snaps.

OL Doug Free, Dallas Cowboys
Free got plenty of action Friday night in the Cowboys' 19-17 loss at Oakland, playing 42% of the offensive snaps and helped Dallas to 10 first half points.

OL Scott Wedige, Arizona Cardinals
Returning to his home state, Wedige saw action for most of the fourth quarter in Arizona's 17-0 win at Green Bay. In total, he was in on 18 snaps on offense and 28% of the team's total offensive plays.

LB Larry English, San Diego Chargers
Looking to find a spot in San Diego's starting lineup at outside linebacker, English was limited in his amount of snaps (11 for 20%) and recorded no stats.

FB Jason Schepler, San Francisco 49ers
Schepler saw playing time late in San Francisco's 10-6 loss versus the Denver Broncos, but did not record any stats.

Nine of the 14 former Huskies will be featured in live, nationally-televised games in Week Two. On Thursday, English and the Chargers head to Chicago to take on the Bears at 7 p.m. on ESPN. The next night on Fox, fans can catch a glimpse of Melvin as the Buccaneers play at New England. Saturday on NFL Network, Arizona hosts Dallas at 4:30 p.m. in a game that features Free and Wedige. Meanwhile, NFLN will join the Jaguars-Jets game in progress as Progar and Spann both look to get more playing time. Harnish, Palmer and the Indianapolis Colts take on the New York Giants Sunday night on Fox, while Baxter's Pittsburgh Steelers face the Washington Redskins Monday night on ESPN.

NIU Fall Media Day

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Check out this visual media day recap via Storify


MEDIA DAY WRAP

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Northern Illinois held its annual media and photo day in DeKalb yesterday, offering another opportunity for the media to check-in on the 2013 Huskies. Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune noted that the Huskie offense has the potential to be even more explosive in 2013. At the Daily Herald, Mike McGraw talks about the Huskies continuing to take the next step while Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star says Jordan Lynch may remain the primary ball carrier for the Huskies this season. On the television side, Scott Leber of WTVO in Rockford has this preview from yesterday's events. Meanwhile from Iowa, the Des Moines Register checked in on the Huskies as they continue to work toward the season opener with the Hawkeyes.
 
Off the field, the media was able to take part in a tour of the Chessick Center yesterday and the DeKalb Daily Chronicle's Steve Nitz provides an update on the facility.

WTVO - NIU Football Preview 

Chicago Tribune - Huskies Still Dangerous on Offense

Daily Chronicle - Chessick Center Progressing, Scheduled to be Completed in October

Daily Herald - Northern Illinois Looks to Take That Next Step

Rockford Register-Star - NIU Plans to Keep Jordan Lynch on the Run

Des Moines Register - Northern Illinois Looks Forward to Another Opportunity Against Iowa

To check out a photo gallery of some of the photos that were taken during the photo day portion of the day, click here.