Aug. 11, 2014
DEKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois University volleyball team kicked off the 2014 season Monday, as the team held their first practice after officially reporting to campus over the weekend.
The Huskies went 19-13 overall and 10-6 in the Mid-American Conference a season ago, their fourth-straight campaign with double-digit conference victories. In addition, the team advanced to the MAC Tournament semifinals for the fourth consecutive season.
Despite losing four talented seniors to graduation, NIU will boast plenty of experience on their roster with 10 returning letterwinners and four returning starters. Headlining that list include 2013 First Team All-MAC selection Mackenzie Roddy (San Bernardino, Calif./Cajon) and junior setter Alexis Gonzalez (Fresno, Calif./Bullard), along with 2013 MAC All-Freshman picks Mary Grace Kelly (Strongsville, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) and Jenna Radtke (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson).
For the second-straight year, the Huskies welcome in a large class of newcomers with five freshmen in 2014. In that quintet are outside hitters Taylor Krage (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North) and Chrystal McAlpin (Calumet Park, Ill./Shepard), middle blocker Shelby Seurer (Delano, Minn./Delano), setter Chandler Kinley (Lexington, Ky./Lafayette) and defensive specialist Anna Brereton (Sun Prairie, Wis./Sun Prairie).
As has become the norm, NIU will take on several quality opponents in the upcoming season, including seven teams that qualified for the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The Huskies open the year with Northwestern, Colorado and Presbyterian in the NIU Invitational Aug. 29-30 in Victor E. Court. They will also host UIC (Sept. 16) and clash with national powers Iowa State (Sept. 6), Arizona State (Sept. 12), Louisville (Sept. 13) and UC Santa Barbara (Sept. 20) before opening MAC play at home against Toledo on Sept. 26.
To follow the Huskies during preseason camp and all through the season, log on to NIUHuskies.com for news and video. You can also follow along on Facebook (NIU Huskies, NIU Volleyball), Twitter (@NIUAthletics, @NIUVolleyball) and Instagram (niuhuskies).