April 20, 2010
DeKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois volleyball team announced the addition of two defenders to the 2010 roster in defensive specialists Justine Schepler and Amber Walker today.
Schepler comes to NIU as a late signee and will be freshman eligible after winning four letters for Sycamore High School in neighboring Sycamore, Ill. As a Spartan, she led as team captain in her final two seasons, being named first-team all-conference and Daily Chronicle first team all-area both years. In her senior campaign she helped Sycamore finish third at the state championships, and as a sophomore, the Spartans went 39-3, 14-0 in league play to win the Western Sun Conference Championship and finish third at the state championships. As a result, Schepler garnered all-conference special mention in her sophomore season. She also earned all-state special mention as a junior. As she leaves Sycamore, the sister of current NIU football player Jason Schepler holds the Spartan career (1,079) and season (325) digs records.
"We are so excited to have somebody with Justine's volleyball potential as part of our group for the fall," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. "Her ability to serve and receive is one of the most natural I've seen in my time here at NIU. As she continues to improve with her floor skills, she has the capability of making big contributions for our program."
Schepler joins a pair of decorated Huskies from the Western Sun Conference in sophomore Kristin Hoffman and incoming freshman Lauren Wicinski. Former Batavia High School standout Hoffman was a first-team all-conference selection in her final two seasons, helping Batavia win the conference championship as a sophomore with a 25-13, 8-2 record. Wicinski is fresh off edging Schepler for her second straight conference MVP honor as the Geneva High School star led her team to a pair of conference championships (30-8, 12-2 | 35-3, 14-0) in her final two campaigns. Wicinski was also named a first-team all-conference performer in her last three seasons as a Viking.
Walker, who has been on campus for a semester already, arrived in DeKalb after spending the 2008 season at North Park University in Chicago, Ill. and 2009 season at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Ore. The sophomore-eligible Walker redshirted in her one season at WOU and also earned an all-conference selection in the heptathlon while participating in track & field at North Park. Originally from Juneau, Alaska, Walker was a three-time varsity letterwinner for Juneau Douglas High School. While at JDHS, she earned first team all-conference honors in her final two seasons. As a senior, she won the team's Best Offensive Player award and played in the Sky-em League all-star game. In her junior season, she was recognized as an all-state tournament team member.
Schepler and Walker will join the seven returning and four incoming Huskies for the fall 2010 season.