DeKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois volleyball team continues its 14-match road trip Tuesday at 7 PM CT in Cedar Falls, Iowa as the Huskies (7-5) put their four-match winning streak up against Northern Iowa (6-4), who received 40 votes in this week's AVCA Coaches Poll.
How to Follow
The match will feature paid live streaming video through UNIPanthers.com and live stats.
The Last Meeting
|#14 Northern Iowa||3
August 27, 2011
NIU Drops Match to No. 14 Northern Iowa 3-0
In a defensive struggle, the Northern Illinois women's volleyball team came up short against No. 14 Northern Iowa, 3-0, in the finale of the annual NIU Invitational Saturday evening at Victor E. Court. Both teams hit well under .300 and combined for 49 errors, but it was the Panthers (3-0) who edged the Huskies (2-2) in efficiency as they outhit NIU .246 to .152 to mark the second top 20 team to defeat the Huskies on the day.
Notes from NIU's First Place Finish at Missouri State's Invite
Rebounding from a tough loss last Tuesday at UIC, the Huskies marched into Springfield, Mo. and won four straight matches ... First, NIU took down Nebraska Omaha and New Orleans in sweeps Friday ... Then on Saturday, topped UCONN in four and finished the tourney with a comeback, five-set win over host Missouri State ... Junior middle blocker Sarah Angelos was named tourney MVP after hitting .413 with a 3.00 kills per set average and 12 blocks ... Senior outside hitter Meghan Romo and senior libero Amber Walker were also named to the all-tournament team ... Against Missouri State, Walker netted a career-high 33 digs ... As a team, the Huskies outblocked their opponents 50.5 to 27.0 on the week.
Scouting Northern Iowa
The Panthers are off to a 6-4 start and are coming off a 2-1 showing at Marquette's Tournament over the weekend. UNI swept Wake Forest, dropped a four-setter to Michigan, and came back for a five-set victory over Marquette. The Panthers, who were AVCA's No. 25 team last week and received 40 votes this week, are averaging 13.63 kills per set and hitting .236, while netting 14.91 digs and 2.44 blocks per set.
UNI leads the all-time series against NIU 10-3, and won the most recent match-up at last year's NIU Invite on Aug. 27 in three sets. The Huskies' last win versus the Panthers came on Sept. 11, 1998 at the NIU Invite as they posted an 8-15, 15-9, 15-13, 15-10 win.
Angelos Garners Community Bankers Classic All-Tournament Nod
With a 2.44 kills per set average, .267 hitting percentage, five blocks, and 25.0 points for the three-match Classic in Stockton, Calif. on Aug. 31-Sept.1, Angelos earned an all-tournament selection.
A Solid Start at the Annual NIU Invitational
Facing competition that has combined to go to the NCAA Tournament 14 times over the last nine years, the Huskies, who made their first NCAA Tournament last year since 2001, held their own at the season-opening, annual NIU Invitational. The Huskies grinded out a five-set win over North Dakota State behind a 62-53 kills edge and an 88-74 advantage. NIU dropped a heartbreaking five-setter to Wichita State as the Huskies thought they had the match won 20-18 in the fifth set. However, a two-ball call from the down official was not seen by the up official on NIU's 20th point, and after the officials met, WSU was awarded the point. With the wind out of their sails the Huskies couldn't recover, but only an 83-71 digs advantage separated the teams. Barely two hours later, the Huskies took out their frustrations on New Mexico State for a dominant 25-14 first set win, but ran out of gas as the Aggies claimed a four-set win. NMSU won the tourney with a 3-0 record, WSU (1-2) took second, NIU finished third, and NDSU (0-3) was fourth.
Gonzalez, Schepler Earn NIU Invitational All-Tournament Honors
Both freshman setter Alexis Gonzalez and junior defensive specialist Justine Schepler were named to the NIU Invitational All-Tournament Team for their solid play at the NIU Invite. "Pookie" Gonzalez showed she could handle running the offense fresh out of high school, averaging 9.21 assists, 2.43 digs, 0.64 kills, 0.36 aces, and 0.36 blocks per set in her first three NIU matches. Schepler averaged a solid 2.93 digs per set and had only one reception
error all weekend.
NIU Season Openers
With a 3-2 win over North Dakota State -- a 2011 NCAA Tournament team - on Aug. 24, NIU improved to 10-1 in season and home openers under Gooden. The Huskies won last year's opener at the NIU Invitational as well, taking down IUPUI in four sets on Aug. 26, 2011.
Kurisch Named to Preseason All-MAC Team
Voted on by the MAC coaches, senior Mary Kurisch was selected to the 2012 Preseason All-MAC Team on Aug. 22. Starting all 35 matches last season, she was a first team All-MAC and honorable mention Academic All-MAC selection as she set career marks for points (378.5), total blocks (109), digs (80), solo blocks (34), and aces (22). She tallied a hitting percentage of .321 to finish second on team and sixth in the MAC, while compiling 20 matches with 10 or more points for the second straight season. Kurisch enters her final season in a Huskie uniform ranking fourth on the all-time NIU career attack percentage list (.303), 14th in total blocks (288), and 17th in blocks per set (0.81). She has 732 career kills (2.05 per set) and has a chance to become NIU's 19th member of the 1,000 Kill Club as she has tallied over 280 kills in each of the last two seasons.
MAC Coaches Pick NIU to Finish 4th in West
Voted on by the MAC coaches, the Huskies were picked to finish fourth in the MAC West Division. NIU was the league's pick to win the regular season and tournament prior to the 2011 season. This year's favorite in the West and overall is Western Michigan.
Entering his 11th season as NIU head coach, 2011 and 2006 MAC Coach of the Year Ray Gooden is coming off his most successful season as he earned his first regular season MAC championship and NCAA appearance at NIU. The program's second all-time wins leader owns a respectable 191-141 record at NIU, including a 113-91 mark in MAC play and an impressive 115-56 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 22 All-MAC, 16 Academic All-MAC, five MAC All-Freshman and five MAC Player of the Year selections, along with the only seven All-American selections in program history. Five players have also reached the 1,000-kill plateau under Gooden.
Follow the Huskies all season long on Facebook and Twitter (@NIUVOLLEYBALL | @Raygooden_niu).
NIU is in the midst of a 14-match road trip over a span of just 23 days. Representing 42 percent of the schedule, the expedition continues Friday at Southern Illinois Edwardsville with a 6 PM tilt.