Sept. 15, 2011
DeKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois women's volleyball team begins a four-match home stand this weekend as Illinois-Chicago and South Florida come to town. The Huskies (9-3) will face the UIC Flames (6-4, 0-1 Horizon League) on Friday, Sept. 16, at 7:00 p.m. CT and will host the USF Bulls (4-5) on Sunday, Sept. 18, at 1:00 p.m.
How To Follow
Live stats via GameTracker and live streaming video through Huskie All-Access will be available for both matches on NIUHuskies.com.
Friday's UIC match will feature a football ticket stub offer. Fans can received $1 admission by showing a ticket for the Soldier Field Showdown football game.
Sunday's USF match will feature the same football ticket stub offer. The match also marks NIU's "Youth Team Day." Any youth (eighth grade and under) wearing team volleyball jerseys or t-shirts receive $1 admission and can take part in a post-match youth volleyball clinic with the Huskies. Call 815-753-0801 to pre-order group tickets.
As with every home match this season, there will be a post-match autograph session for both matches.
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 165-132 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 on Aug. 26. 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 extended her NIU school career record total.
NIU has outhit its opponents this season to the tune of .280-.239. The Huskies are 7-0 when they outhit their opponents and 2-3 when they do not. The two wins came at Green Bay (Aug. 30) and at Milwaukee (Sept. 6).
Huskies Win Bluejay Invitational
On Sept. 2-3, 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.
Last weekend, the Huskies wrapped up an eight-match, 12-day road swing with an impressive 7-1 record. The lone loss came to Texas A&M on the second-to-last match of the trip during Stephen F. Austin's Ladyjack Invitational. Lauren Wicinski (35 kills, nine digs, three aces, two blocks) and Kristin Hoffman (85 assists, 15 digs) were named to the all-tournament team for their outstanding efforts at SFA.
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.
Despite a tough loss to Texas A&M last Saturday morning, the Huskies received four votes in the September 12th poll to remain in the top 25 mix for the second straight week. NIU's only three losses this season have been to No. 12 Iowa State, No. 15 Northern Iowa, and Texas A&M, who received 41 votes in the latest poll.
Leaders of the MAC
As of Sept. 12, the Huskies, who were the Mid-American Conference coaches' preseason pick to win the league, lead the MAC in kills (15.10/set). They also rank second in hitting percentage (.280) and assists (14.17/set) and rank third in aces (1.51/set) and digs (15.73/set).
Individually, Lauren Wicinski, the reigning MAC Freshman and Player of the Year, leads the league in kills (5.20set) and aces (0.55/set). Kristin Hoffman paces the MAC in assists (12.27/set). Allison McGlaughlin ranks ninth in digs (3.49/set).
Leading the Country
As of Sept. 12, NIU leads the NCAA in kills, ranks second in assists and 16th in hitting percentage. The Huskies also rank 65th in aces and 73rd in digs.
Individually, Lauren Wicinski ranks third in kills and 22nd in aces. Kristin Hoffman ranks fifth in assists.
The Flames are off to a 6-4 start and have already played their first Horizon League match, which was a 3-0 loss at Valparaiso Wednesday night. UIC is 4-0 in four-set matches and is led by Kelsey Safranek's 3.92 kills per set.
The Huskies lead the all-time series over UIC 39-25 and have won six of the last seven matches in the series since 2003. In the last meeting, the Huskies came out on top 3-0 to win the UIC Invitational on Sept. 4, 2010, as they set the mark for the program's best start to a season (8-0) at the time. With wins over Green Bay and Milwaukee, NIU is 2-0 versus Horizon League opponents in 2011.
The Bulls are 4-5 this season but enter the weekend on a four-match winning streak. USF has been strong at the net all season, holding a 3.14-1.45 blocking advantage over its opponents. NIU will catch the Bulls at the end of a road trip that features three matches in three days at three different locations. USF will play Wisconsin and Western Michigan prior to Sunday's match.
The all-time series between the two teams is tied 1-1. USF claimed the last meeting 3-1 on Sept. 17, 2004, at Northern Iowa's UNI Panther Invitational. NIU is 2-0 against Big East opponents this season.
The Huskies wrap up the home stand with their first two MAC matches of the season. The Huskies will host Central Michigan on Friday, Sept. 23, at 7:00 p.m. and Eastern Michigan on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 7:00 p.m.