NIU Volleyball To Play In Last Invitational Of The Season

GO HUSKIES Mandi Caputo has been solid through NIU's first eight matches.
GO HUSKIES
Mandi Caputo has been solid through NIU's first eight matches.
GO HUSKIES

Sept. 6, 2007

DeKalb, Ill. - The Northern Illinois (3-5, 0-0 Mid-American Conference) volleyball team will head to Corpus Christi, Texas this weekend to participate in the final invitational of the season in the Texas A & M Corpus Christi Invitational. The Huskies will match-up against Texas-Pan American (2-7 Independent) on Friday, September 7 at 4 p.m. NIU will play Texas A & M C.C. (2-4, 0-0 Southland) at 10 a.m. and San Diego State (4-2, 0-0 Mountain West) at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 8.

Northern Illinois head coach Ray Gooden is still toying with his line-up in order to figure out which group works best together to maximize NIU's performance for the rest of the season. Thus far, 12 of the 14 total Huskie players have appeared in 10 or more games in 2007.

"Our rotation is an on-going process," said Gooden. "We're fortunate to have a lot of players that our conditioned to be successful. We are just trying to find that right combination that will help us throughout the year."

"We need to continue to get the consistency that we need in order to play at a high level," Gooden said. "We had a lot of positives last night against DePaul, but we are still looking for some other areas of our play to improve. Hopefully, we will take care of some things on our side of the court and have a good weekend at the Texas A & M Corpus Christi Invitational."

One of the most consistent performers for the Huskies in 2007 has been junior Mandi Caputo (Chicago, Ill. / Immaculate Heart of Mary / DePaul). Caputo has notched four consecutive double-doubles and has had a double-double in six of Northern's eight matches this season. Caputo also leads the Huskies in assists (12.39/game) and service aces (10 total).

The NIU offense is headed by senior Laura Baetzel (Chicago, Ill. / Burbank Queen of Peace), who is averaging 3.98 points per game. Freshman Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill / North) has a team-high average of 3.97 digs per game for the Huskie defense.

Texas-Pan American's offense is led by Kellie Phillips' 3.42 kills per game and Chelsea Blakely's 8.84 assists per game. Defensively, Jordan Davila leads the Lady Broncs with 4.61 kills per game.

"This is our first time seeing Texas-Pan American," said Gooden. "They're a hard working group. We will have to be ready to take on that challenge."

Christie Feliz has a team-high 3.31 kills per game for the Texas A & M C.C. offense. Molly McCabe leads the Islanders with 11.06 assists per game. Laura North's 5.67 digs per game lead the Islander defense.

"Texas A & M Corpus Christi is the home team so that will be another tough road match for us. It's at 10 a.m. so we have to get ourselves mentally prepared for that."

Stephanie Darnall is averaging 4.26 points per game and Leah Lathrop is getting 5.92 assists per game to lead the San Diego State attack. With 5.87 digs per game, Aime Cordeiro fronts the Aztec defense.

"San Diego State is a proven team from a solid conference. They will have another style of play that we will have to adjust to."

-NIU