Zach Peters: April 2011 Archives

Welcome the Newest Addition to the Huskie Family

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RayNap.jpegFifth-year NIU pitching coach Ray Napientek and his wife Randi welcomed the newest member of the Huskie family this morning at 9:24 a.m.  Weighing in at eight pounds and 20.5 inches long, Katherine Anne Napientek and the family are doing well and resting.  The Napientek's second addition to the family makes three-year-old Kara a very excited big sister.  Congrats to the Napienteks!

NIU Baseball Highlights on WREX TV

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Missed some of the last weekend's action as NIU baseball grabbed first place in the Mid-American Conference West Division with a 2-1 series win over Toledo?  Don't worry, Jude Wilbers, from WREX Channel 13 in Rockford, was there to get highlights of Game One.  For video of the exciting 4-3 walk-off Huskie win, click here.
RayNap.jpegAssistant coach Ray Napientek has been handling Ed Mathey's pitching staff for five years.  During his experience, he has developed a knack for how to handle each pitcher and pitching staff differently.  Yesterday, the Northern Star's Andrew Singer chatted with the Huskie pitching coach to find out what his secrets to success are.  Click here to read.

Ralph McKinzie Field's Facelift

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The Ralph.jpegIf you have been out to Ralph McKinzie Field this season, you may have noticed some changes.  If you haven't been out to "The Ralph" yet, there have been some changes, and the field is looking as sharp as ever.  Since being built in 1965, the field has gone through several modifications.  The latest upgrade improved the warning track, infield, bullpen, mound and home plate ring, among other smaller changes.  For more info and pictures of the improvements, check out this page done by the Midwest Athletic Fields, the company that worked on the field during the fall and winter months.

Midseason Update on New NCAA Bat Performance

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Prior to the 2011 baseball season, the NCAA mandated new regulations for the metal bats used during games, focusing on slowing down the ball's exit speed off the barrel.  With the bats expected to perform more like wood than metal, the NCAA baseball community figured to see a change from a high-powered offensive game to an execution-and-defense-oriented game.  A little over halfway through the season, the Northern Star's Andrew Singer caught up with some of the Huskies to get an update on how the new bats have changed the game.  Click here to read Singer's article.
Recently, Northern Illinois volleyball's Kristin Hoffman went on a community service tour with Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF).  During her week-long trip, the junior took NIUHuskies.com's Flip Cam with her to give Huskie fans a glimpse of her trek and the people she reached out to.

Most students like to get away and go wild on spring break.  But not Hoffman, who has been one of NIU's most community service-dedicated student-athletes.  For her spring break, Hoffman wanted to be involved with STLF because the organization's mission reflects her own personal values.  Founded in 2003, STLF's mission is to reveal leadership through service, relationships, and action.  Whether the setter is on or off the court, Hoffman displays those characterstics in community service trips, leading the NIU volleyball Relay For Life team and on the court as the captain of the offense.  The video below shows Hoffman in action, displaying such wonderful characteristics.

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Jeremy Gonzales made history yesterday, becoming just the second NIU pitcher ever to be named National Pitcher of the Week. Today, "Gonzo" is featured on the front page of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association website, as seen above.  For a first-hand glimpse of the site, click here.

To earn the honor, Gonzales hurled a three-hit complete game shutout on Sunday against Miami (Ohio). For more details on the senior's impressive accomplishment, click here.

NIU Volleyball Spring Update #2

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The Northern Illinois volleyball team traveled to Madison, Wis. this past weekend to compete in Wisconsin's Spring Badger Invitational.  The Huskies split with Iowa (25-27, 25-14), split with UW-Milwaukee (21-25, 25-19), defeated Michigan Tech (26-24, 25-15), and fell to Minnesota (15-25, 19-25).

Amber Walker made her debut at libero against Wisconsin, joining the spring rotation at the position that also includes Sue Hayes and Justine Schepler.  Walker led the platoon with 20 digs on the weekend.

Lauren Wicinski contributed a team-best 21 kills over the four matches.  Allison McGlaughlin posted 16, while Meghan Romo and Sarah Angelos chipped in with 15 each.

NIU continues its spring schedule this Saturday at Northern Iowa.  The slate in Cedar Rapids, Iowa includes Drake, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, Northwestern, and South Dakota State.

NIU Volleyball Spring Update

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Last weekend, NIU hosted its annual Salvani Spring Play Date.  During the successful, undefeated run for NIU, the Huskies split against Lewis (25-21, 19-21) and beat the NIU Alumni Team twice (25-19, 25-13 and 25-22, 25-20), Loyola (25-16, 25-9), Southern Illinois-Edwardsville (25-19, 25-17), Winona State (25-23, 25-18).

Of the notable performances from the day, Amber Walker played significant time at outside hitter and passed the ball very well.  Sue Hayes and Justine Schepler platooned the libero spot well.  Meghan Romo played in all six rotations, scoring well out of the back row.  Mary Kurisch played solid all day as the main middle blocker and was a dominant physical presence.

The Huskies head to Madison, Wis., on Saturday to take on Iowa, Marquette, Michigan Tech, Minnesota, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, UW-Green Bay, UW-Milwaukee and host Wisconsin.

NIU Women's Hoops Recruits Earn All-State Honors

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The future keeps looking brighter for NIU women's basketball, as two of the three recruits Kathi Bennett inked last November were named to the Chicago Tribune's All-State teams today.  Claire Jakubicek earned Third Team recognition while Natecia Augusta garnered Special Mention recognition. 

As a 6'0" guard/forward for Cary-Grove, Jakubicek averaged 19.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 3.7 steals per game and shot 49 percent from the field and 76 percent from the free-throw line.  She finished her career as Cary-Grove's career scoring (1,700 points) and rebound (795 rebounds) leader.

Augusta led Limestone to a regional final appearance in her final prep season.  The 6'0" forward is the No. 2 ranked forward and No. 12 overall player in Illinois, as rated by ESPN HoopGurlz.