Sept. 16, 2013
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DeKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois volleyball team comes back to DeKalb Tuesday when they take on the Northern Iowa Panthers inside Victor E. Court.
The match between the Huskies and Panthers is schedule to start at 7 p.m.
“Again, we welcome one of the nation’s top programs to Victor E. Court,” said NIU Head Coach Ray Gooden about Tuesday’s contest with the Panthers. “They are always well-coached and talented, so we are looking to improve on our level of consistency.”
NIU returns home after going 1-2 at the NM State Tournament, with a win against Southern Utah sandwiched between losses to UALR and New Mexico State. Senior Justine Schepler was named to the all-tournament team after accumulating 61 digs in the three matches, including a career-high 25 Friday night in the win over the Thunderbirds. As a team, the Huskies notched 93 digs.
The Huskies trail the all-time series with Northern Iowa, 8-6. The last matchup between the two squads came last year in Cedar Falls with UNI defeating NIU, 3-1. Both sides have had plenty of success the past three seasons, as the two programs have collected 175 wins since the beginning of the 2010 season.
Scouting Northern Iowa
Northern Iowa comes into Tuesday’s match with a 6-4 record and a five-match winning streak. This past weekend, the Panthers earned a 3-2 road win against Saint Louis, following by a doubleheader sweep of Green Bay. Of UNI’s four losses on the year, two came in five sets against current Top 25 teams Iowa State and Wisconsin. Individually, the Panthers have four players averaging 2.00 kills/set or more, including seniors Shelby Kintzel (2.82 kills/set) and Macy Ubben (2.69). On defense, Courtney Kintzel paces the Panthers with 1.33 blocks/set, while Amie Held sports a 4.08 digs/set mark.
Schepler Gets All-Tournament Team Nod
Senior Justine Schepler was named to the all-tournament team at this past weekend’s NM State Tournament. The Sycamore, Ill., native collected 61 digs in the three matches, including a career-high 25 against Southern Utah.
Leading the Pack
NIU seniors Sarah Angelos and Justine Schepler both rank among the NCAA’s active career statistical leaders. Currently, Angelos is second in the nation in sets played (434), tied for ninth in matches played (116), 24th in hitting percentage (.325) and 40th in kills (1,033), while ranking first in the MAC all categories but kills. Meanwhile, Schepler is tied for 11th nationally and second in the conference in matches played with 115.
Can You Dig It?
In their contest against Southern Utah on Sept. 13, the Huskies totaled 93 digs in a 3-2 win against the Thunderbirds. That mark is the most NIU has had in a single match since Oct. 28, 2011, when they compiled 101 against Eastern Michigan.
The 2013 non-conference schedule is quite an interesting one for the Huskies. Of the 14 matches outside of MAC play, 11 have taken place in Victor E. Court. Additionally, two of NIU’s three matches at the NM State Tournament are considered neutral site matches, meaning that the Huskies will have had only one true road match by the time conference play starts on Sept. 26.
Down to the Wire
Through 10 matches so far this season, the Huskies have not been involved in many one-sided matches. Entering Tuesday’s tilt with Northern Iowa, the Huskies have won 20 sets, while their opponents have won 22. Similarly, NIU has scored 899 points in 42 sets compared to 903 for the opposition. Those close numbers also lend credence to the fact that only two of the 10 matches this season have been settled in three sets.
Going The Distance
The Huskies have proven to be quite successful this season when it comes to five-set matches. Of the four contests that have gone the full length, NIU holds a 3-1 record in those contests, defeating Green Bay (Aug. 30), Western Illinois (Sept. 4) and Southern Utah (Sept. 13). The Huskies’ only loss in a five-set match came against nationally-ranked Ohio State in the NIU Invitational.
Returning the Favor
Through 10 matches and 42 sets played, the Huskies have been solid in serve receiving. NIU has a .952 reception percentage and his holding opponents to less than one ace per set. The Huskies have held four opponents to one ace/set or less this year, including limiting USC - a team that averaged 2.1 aces/set entering the contest - to four over four sets.
Angelos Scores 1,000th Kill
Senior middle blocker Sarah Angelos put her name into the NIU record books once again Saturday night against Belmont by scoring her 1,000th career kill. The Waukegan, Ill., native becomes the 20th player in program history to reach that mark. Additionally, Angelos still sits second in program history with a .325 hitting percentage, trailing only NIU Athletics Hall of Famer Cathy Holmes (.339).
In his 12th season as NIU head coach, Ray Gooden is now the longest-tenured coach in NIU Volleyball history. A three-time MAC Coach of the Year, Gooden has led the Huskies to three consecutive 20-win seasons and has guided the team to the last three MAC Tournament title matches. The program’s second all-time wins leader owns a respectable 210-156 record at NIU, including a 102-77 mark in MAC play and an impressive 125-61 tally at home. Additionally, Gooden has coached 25 All-MAC, 19 Academic All-MAC, six MAC All-Freshman and five MAC Player of the Year selections, along with the only seven All-American selections in program history. Six players have also reached the 1,000-kill plateau under Gooden.
Northern Illinois closes out their non-conference schedule Friday and Saturday when they host the Huskie Invitational. NIU plays George Washington and IPFW on Friday, then closes the tournament Saturday morning against Oakland.
The Last Meeting
September 11, 2012
Cedar Falls, Iowa
NIU's Four-Match Winning Streak Snapped by Northern Iowa
The Northern Illinois volleyball team dropped a 19-25, 15-25, 25-11, 18-25 decision to Northern Iowa Tuesday night at McLeod Center as the Huskies (7-6) gave the Panthers (7-4) all they could handle in their home opener in front of nearly 2,700 fans.