Sept. 13, 2012
DeKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois volleyball team hits the last leg of the non-conference portion of its 14-match road trip this weekend. The Huskies (7-6) will travel to Edwardsville, Ill. to face SIUE (4-5) Friday at 6 PM CT and then go to Peoria, Ill. for Bradley's CEFCU Classic. NIU will take on Long Beach State (3-5) at 11 AM Saturday and 3.5 hours later Bradley (6-3) at 3:30 PM.
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The Last Meeting
August 31, 2010
Huskies Reach Best Start Since 1998, Sweep Bradley
Sophomore middle blocker Mary Kurisch paced a well-rounded attack as the undefeated Northern Illinois volleyball team swept Bradley, 3-0, at Victor E. Court Tuesday night. The 25-14, 25-17, 25-15 win improved NIU to 5-0, marking its best start since 1998, as the Huskies wrapped up a perfect five-match home stand to begin the 2010 campaign.
The SIUE match will feature live stats through SIUECougars.com
. Both matches at Bradley will feature paid video
and live stats (LBSU
Notes from NIU's Tough Loss to Last Week's No. 25-Ranked Northern Iowa
NIU gave last week's AVCA No. 25th-ranked Panthers, who received 40 votes in this week's post, all they could handled Tuesday night despite still being fatigued from a long, successful weekend at the Missouri State Invite ... UNI took advantage of a sluggish NIU team that struggled in serve-receive in the first two sets, but the Huskies simply manhandled the Panthers in the third, opening up a 20-6 lead ... The Panther faithful even gave a sarcastic cheer for their team when they finally scored their seventh point of the set after NIU reeled off eight straight points ... The 25-11 loss was the largest margin UNI had been beaten by in any set this year ... NIU was up 6-4 in the fourth but then ran out of gas as a 13-4 run dashed any hopes of a Huskie comeback.
Angelos, Walker Sweep MAC West Offensive and Defensive Weekly Honors
On Tuesday, the Mid-American Conference announced its Players of the Week and the Huskies swept the West Division's honors as Sarah Angelos was named Offensive Player of the Week and Amber Walker was named Defensive Player of the Week. Earning the honor for the first time in her career, Angelos hit .413 with a 3.00 kills per set average and 12 blocks and was named MVP after NIU's 4-0, first-place finish at the Missouri State Invite. Walker, who's earned the honor twice now, was named to Missouri State Invitational All-Tournament Team as well after recording 5.42 digs per game, including a career-high 33-dig effort against MSU.
NIU Takes First Place at Missouri State's Invite
The Huskies marched into Springfield, Mo. and won four straight matches last weekend, beating Nebraska Omaha and New Orleans in sweeps last Friday. Then, taking down UCONN in four and host Missouri State in five in comeback fashion last Saturday. Sarah Angelos was named tourney MVP, while Meghan Romo and Amber Walker were also named to the all-tournament team.
As a team, the Huskies rank second in the MAC in opponent hitting percentage (.164) and digs (16.96/set), which is also good for 52nd in the nation. Individually, Amber Walker is fourth in digs (4.72/set), Mary Kurisch is fourth in blocks (1.02/set), Meghan Romo is sixth in kills (3.35/set), Alexis Gonzalez is seventh in assists (9.59/set) and 10th in aces (0.29/set).
Southern Illinois Edwardsville is off to a 4-5 start and is coming off a 1-2 weekend at the Akron Invite. The Cougars lost to Akron (3-0) and Youngstown State (3-1) before heading home after a 3-0 win over Binghamton. SIUE averages 12.44 kills per set and hits .177, while netting 15.64 digs and 1.58 blocks per set.
NIU and SIUE have never met before.
Scouting Long Beach State
The 49ers have begun the season with a 3-5 mark and are coming off a 3-0 loss to AVCA No. 7 Washington on the road and a 3-0 win at Seattle. LBSU nets 13.21 kills per set and hits .189. Defensively, the 49ers average 15.14 digs and 1.82 blocks per set.
NIU is 0-2 all-time against Long Beach State. The last match up was a 3-0 win for the 49ers in 1997.
The Braves have started the 2012 campaign 6-3 and enter the weekend after a five-set loss to Green Bay and a five-set win at South Dakota State. Bradley tallies 13.03 kills per set and hits .213, while totaling 13.83 digs and 2.03 blocks per set.
NIU leads the all-time series over Bradley 12-3 and swept the last meeting in 2010.
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 191-142 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 next week as the Huskies open up MAC play. NIU will take on Central Michigan in Mount Pleasant Friday, Sept. 21, at 6 PM and Eastern Michigan in Ypsilanti Saturday, Sept. 22, at 6 PM.