March 21, 2013
DEKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois volleyball team will take part in three tournaments as part of their spring schedule, NIU head coach Ray Gooden announced Thursday.
"Spring is a great opportunity for us to get better both individually and as a team,” Gooden said. “The girls are working hard in the gym and every day things get a little better. Everyone is excited to compete against other teams, so it is great to be able to host some local teams on our campus this weekend."
The spring slate will start Saturday, March 23, when they host the annual Salvani Playdate. The tournament field is headlined by in-state rivals Illinois-Chicago and Western Illinois. The UIC Flames finished 2012 with a 19-13 record and 10-4 mark in the Horizon League, while advancing to the conference tournament title game before losing to eventual champ Cleveland State. Meanwhile, WIU went 11-17 and 4-12 in the Summit League a year ago. Also slated to compete at the tournament will be 2012 NJCAA National Tournament qualifier Kishwaukee College, Division III Augustana (Ill.) and a team of NIU alumni.
Two weeks later, the Huskies head to Illinois for a four-team round robin inside UI’s Huff Hall on April 6. Outside of the host Fighting Illini, NIU will battle Chicagoland foe Loyola and Missouri Valley Conference member Indiana State. UI went 14-16 in the 2012 season and 8-12 in Big Ten play, finishing eighth in the conference. The Ramblers went 17-12 a season ago and finished fourth in the Horizon League before bowing out in the tournament semifinals against Cleveland State. Meanwhile, the Sycamores went 4-24 and 2-16 in the MVC in 2012.
The spring slate concludes April 20 with a three-team tournament at Northwestern. NIU will compete in two matches against the host Wildcats and take on Loyola for a second time in the spring. NU went 16-15 a year ago and posted a 5-15 ledger within the Big Ten to finish ninth.
2013 Northern Illinois Spring Schedule
Saturday, March 23 – Salvani Playdate (NIU, Western Illinois, UIC, Augustana, Kishawaukee, NIU Alumni)
Saturday, April 6 – @ Illinois (NIU, Illinois, Loyola, Indiana State)
Saturday, April 20 – @ Northwestern (NIU, Northwestern, Loyola)