Sept. 5, 2011
DeKALB, Ill. - Fresh off a first place finish at the Bluejay Invitational, the Northern Illinois women's volleyball team takes its four-match winning streak to Milwaukee for its second midweek match in the state of Wisconsin in as many weeks. The Huskies (6-2) and Panthers (5-1) will face off at 7:00 p.m. CT on Tuesday, September 6.
How To Follow
Live stats and video of the match will be available on UWMPanthers.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 162-131 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.
With a 3-0 sweep at Green Bay Aug. 30, the Huskies won their third straight road opener, marking their 16th consecutive win against the Phoenix, who NIU is 19-1 against all-time.
Huskie Hold Their Own
The opening 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.
NIU Invitational All-Tournament
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.
Wiz Captures First MAC West Offensive Player of the Week Honor of 2011
Just like she did last season, Lauren Wicinski garnered the first Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week honor of the year, the league announced Aug. 30. The sophomore's sixth selection of her career extends her NIU school career record total.
All Good Things Come To An End
With a total of nine kills against Green Bay Aug. 30 in a 3-0 win, Lauren Wicinski snapped a streak of 38 straight games with double figure kills. She did, however, add a team- and season-high 19 digs.
NIU has outhit its opponents this season to the tune of .278-.241. The Huskies are 5-0 when they outhit their opponents and 1-2 when they do not. The lone win came against Marquette as the Golden Eagles outhit the Huskies .313-.277.
Huskies Win Bluejay Invitational
Last weekend, the Huskies went 3-0 to claim the Bluejay Invitational title. NIU took down host Creighton 3-0, Marquette 3-1, and South Dakota 3-0. Lauren Wicinski took home tournament MVP and Kristin Hoffman was named to the all-tournament team as well. Wicinski totaled 49 kills, 31 digs and seven aces during the tournament, while Hoffman handed out 121 assists along with netting 19 digs and eight kills.
NIU Receives Votes In AVCA Top 25 For First Time Since 2001
For the first time since 2001, the Huskies received votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Top 25 Poll, as voted on by the nation's coaches. NIU received six votes in the September 5th poll, giving the Huskies a No. 37 ranking. NIU's only two losses this season have been to No. 15 Northern Iowa and No. 17 Iowa State.
Like the Huskies, the Panthers were picked to win their conference in the preseason Horizon League coaches poll. The Panthers head into the contest with a 5-1 mark after winning the Sheraton West Des Moines Drake Invitational last weekend. Milwaukee's three wins came in four sets against Wyoming, IPFW, and host Drake.
For their efforts at Drake, Kerri Schuh and Rachel Neuberger were named to the all-tournament team. Schuh was named the tournament MVP as she tallied 38 kills. Not too far behind her teammate, Neuberger had 36 kills.
NIU leads the series over the Panthers 13-7-1. But Milwaukee claimed the last matchup between the two with a 3-2 win at Victor E. Court on September 15, 2009.
The Huskies head to Texas for three matches. First up is a 7:00 p.m. tilt against Lamar in Beaumont, Texas, on Thursday, September 8. Then on Saturday, September 10, NIU takes on Texas A&M at 11:00 a.m. and Stephen F. Austin at 6:00 p.m. at the Stephen F. Austin Invitational in Nacogdoches, Texas.