Feb. 10, 2007
DeKALB, Ill. - With an ever-changing line-up of available gymnasts, Northern Illinois head coach Mark Sontag and his Huskies have already overcome many challenges during the 2007 season to post the team's current 4-2 overall record.
Entering Sunday's home meet versus Mid-American Conference leader Kent State at the NIU Convocation Center beginning at 2 p.m., Sontag again will field some new line-ups in several events, and welcomes back senior Amy Ristvedt, who will see her first action of the season in this meet.
Tickets for Sunday's meet are available at the door beginning one hour before the event at a cost of $5 for adults and $3 for youth (under 18) while NIU students are free with ID.
Northern Illinois looks for its first MAC win of the year but will have a tall task versus Kent State, which enters the meet with a record of 5-2 overall, 2-0 in the conference.
"With Kent leading the league, we will get a good look at what we'll be up against at the MAC Championships. In a meet like this when you are up against a strong rival like Kent, every event is key. We have to have near-perfect routines on every event and go 24-for-24.," Sontag said. "Kent's strength is consistency. They have not counted a fall this season. Our potential is there, our talent is there. We have to go out and get the job done."
NIU has twice hit the 190.000 mark as a team this season, including a season-high of 190.950 in the season-opening meet. The Huskies came back with a 190.700 last week while taking second place in a Quadrangular Meet at Iowa. Kent State has recorded a season high mark of 194.575.
Ristvedt, a senior from Alexandria, Minn., will compete on the vault along with a pair of true freshmen in Jocelyn Sandoval and Natalie Blum, who was hurt for the MAC opener but returned last week at Iowa. Sophomore Leah Johnson is slated to be NIU's lone competitor in the all-around. She has a season-high all-around score of 38.150.
"We keep playing with the line-up," Sontag said. "As soon as we get someone back, someone else goes out. We're having trouble moving forward because of our lack of depth right now."
The Kent State meet ends a string of three home appearances in the first four events of the season for the Huskies. Following this meet, NIU will go on the road for the next three meets, returning to the Convocation Center on Sunday, March 4 for a 1 p.m. dual meet versus Eastern Michigan.
-- NIU --