Aug. 29, 2011
DeKALB, Ill. - For its first road match of the season, the Northern Illinois women's volleyball team will travel to Green Bay, Wis., to take on Green Bay Tuesday, Aug. 30, at 7 p.m. CT at Kress Events Center.
How To Follow
Live stats for the match will be available on GreenBayPhoenix.com. Live video will also be available for $4.99 on GreenBayPhoenix.com.
Building Off Historic 2010 Campaign
NIU returns all but one player from last season's team that finished second at the Mid-American Conference tournament, tallying the most wins (27) since 1998 and best conference finish since 2001. The Huskies got off to a record 11-0 start to 2010 and ended the season ranked fifth in the country in wins, 29th in winning percentage (.771), 31st in hitting percentage (.256), 33rd in kills per set (14.01) and assists per set (13.07), and 38th in aces per set (1.52).
Individually, the Huskies had six MAC West Division Player of the Week selections, including Lauren Wicinski's school career record five in just her freshman season. Wicinski also became the first in league history to garner MAC Player and Freshman of the Year in the same season. Additionally, she became the second Huskie to earn AVCA Honorable Mention All-American recognition, and the first to do so as a rookie. Joining Wicinski on the All-American list was teammate Kristin Hoffman, who became the program's first ever ESPN/CoSIDA Academic Third Team All-American. Hoffman's classmate Allison McGlaughlin was also recognized on the ESPN/CoSIDA Academic All-District 5 First Team. Wicinski and Hoffman were honored on the All-MAC First Team as well, while graduated libero Maddie Hughes was a Second Team selection.
Entering his 10th season as NIU head coach, Ray Gooden is coming off his most successful season. The program's second all-time wins leader owns a respectable 158-131 record at NIU, including a 99-89 mark in MAC play and an impressive 93-53 tally at home. Gooden is in the process of leaving an indelible mark on the program as the top three place holders in kills, kills per set, attack attempts and points all played under Gooden, as well as the top two holders in digs and digs per set.
Additionally, Gooden has coached 17 All-MAC, five MAC All-Freshman and two MAC Player of the Year selections, along with the only three All-Americans in program history. Four players have also reached the 1,000-kill plateau under Gooden: Tara Lobdell, Kate McCullagh (1,936 kills, second in MAC history), Meagan Schoenrock, and Allison McGlaughlin, who has another year to add to her total.
Starting Off On The Right Foot
For the fourth straight season, and ninth time in 10 tries, under Gooden, the Huskies won their season opener. The triumph was a 3-1 decision over IUPUI. The lone season in which NIU did not win its first match came in 2007, when the Huskies fell in five sets to Indiana at Victor E. Court. The Huskies are also 9-1 in home openers under Gooden.
Huskie Hold Their Own
Last weekend's NIU Invitational featured three 2010 NCAA Tournament Teams that received votes in the 2011 AVCA Preseason Poll: Cincinnati (Received 22 votes), No. 18 Iowa State, and No. 14 Northern Iowa. The Huskies swept Cincinnati and hung tough with ISU and UNI, scoring under 20 points in only two of seven sets against the top 20 duo and claiming the first set against ISU, 25-21. NIU also held its opponents at the invite to a .253 attack percentage while the Huskies hit .280.
The sophomore duo of Sarah Angelos and Lauren Wicinski earned all-tournament honors at the NIU Invitational. Angelos totaled 30 kills and six blocks in the four matches, while Wicinski notched 76 kills, 45 digs, nine blocks and five aces.
Scouting Green Bay
The Phoenix enter the match with a 1-2 mark after hosting James Madison, North Dakota and No. 19 Dayton at the Green Bay/Country Inn & Suites Tournament. Green Bay began the year with a 3-2 win over James Madison on Aug. 26 before falling 3-2 to North Dakota and 3-1 to No. 19 Dayton on Aug. 27.
Green Bay was led by all-tournament selections Carmen Leitermann and Carlie Willison. Leitermann notched 39 kills and 15 blocks, while Willison had 36 kills and 57 digs. Both played a large role in holding their opponents to a .202 hitting percentage.
NIU leads the all-time series against Green Bay 18-1. The Huskies won 3-2 on Sept. 2, 2005, at the NIU Comfort Inn & Suites Invitational in the last matchup between the two teams. The one time the Phoenix topped the Huskies came on October 27, 1989, when GB won 3-0 at home. Since then, NIU has won 15 consecutive contests in the series.
The Huskies head to Omaha, Neb., this weekend for the Creighton Invitational, featuring contests against host Creighton, Marquette and South Dakota. NIU begins the weekend with a Friday 7:00 p.m. match versus Creighton, who ranked 33rd last season and made the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies finish the invitational Saturday with a 10:00 a.m. match against Marquette, who ranked 47th in 2010, and a 5:30 matchup with South Dakota.