Aug. 31, 2006
DeKalb, Ill. - It's not often that the Northern Illinois volleyball squad sees a large pro-Huskie contingent on the road, but this weekend should prove to be the antithesis.
With the NIU football team opening the season against top-ranked Ohio State on Saturday afternoon at the "Horseshoe", the Huskies will be bringing 4,000 Cardinal and Black fans to Columbus, Ohio, which should spill over into St. John Arena for this weekend's Buckeye Volleyball Invitational.
NIU will open the tournament against Iona at 11:30 a.m. (CST) on Friday morning, followed by an afternoon tilt against Lehigh at 4 p.m. The Huskies will wrap up the weekend against the #23 Buckeyes at 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.
"I think it's great," Gooden said of the expected NIU fans in attendance. "It's going to be awesome to have them experience this with us. A road trip, besides our usual great families and friends of the program, having a little extended group will certainly be exciting."
But before the Huskies can think about the Buckeyes, they have to worry about both Iona and Lehigh.
"We try to play our best against whoever we play against," Gooden said. "What the other side brings is what we need to match up against and try to play better than. Lehigh is going to be much improved from the past weekend and Iona finished on a strong note last week. We're looking at teams that are looking to get themselves on the winning track. That's why we have to be prepared for different styles of play and play well against those and make sure that our style of play will come through."
Gooden knows that his team has talent, it's just a matter of putting it all together at the same time, especially after Tuesday's four-game loss at the hands of Illinois State.
"We're looking to get ourselves back to some positive playing," Gooden said. "Our team is eager to get on the court and show what we can do. At times we've played some good consistent volleyball, and we're just looking to continue that."