Sept. 19, 2012
DeKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois volleyball team finishes its season-long 14-match, 23-day road trip this weekend with the opening of Mid-American Conference play. The Huskies (9-7), who enter league play with the second most wins in the conference, travel to Michigan to take on Central Michigan (6-5) in Mount Pleasant at 6 PM CT Friday and face Eastern Michigan (10-6) in Ypsilanti Saturday at 6 PM.
How to Follow
The Last Meeting
November 20, 2011
Huskies Fall in Five Sets to Central Michigan in MAC Championship
Trailing 2-0 to No. 6 seed Central Michigan and out of rhythm, the No. 1 seeded Northern Illinois volleyball team nearly dug itself completely out of a hole as the Huskies fell four points shy of winning the Mid-American Conference Tournament championship in five sets (21-25, 22-25, 25-21, 25-23, 11-15).
The Last Meeting
October 28, 2011
Both matches will feature live stats and paid streaming video. CMUChippewas.com will provide the following for Friday's match (Stats
). EMUEagles.com will provide the following for Saturday's match (Stats
Notes from NIU's 2-1 Weekend
Playing all three matches in less than a 24-hour span, NIU went 2-1, beating SIUE on the road in three set before dropping a three-setter to Long Beach State and coming back for a five-set win over Bradley at BU's CEFCU Classic ... NIU has won six of its last eight matches ... MacKenzie Roddy earned All-Tourney honors at the CEFCU Classic after going off for a career-high 30 kills versus Bradley as she also had a career-high four aces and hit an astonishing .407 on 59 swings with only six errors ... She led NIU with 3.80 kills per set on the week ... Amber Walker led the Huskies with 4.93 digs per set ... NIU is 3-1 in five-set matches ... The Huskies are now near the close of a 14-match road trip over a span of just 23 days and are 7-5 on the trip, which represents 42 percent of the schedule.
Scouting Central Michigan
After NIU beat CMU twice in the 2011 regular season, the Chippewas stunned NIU in five sets to win the MAC Tournament title match. Heading into the first match since then, the Chips are off to a 6-5 non-conference start. They are coming off back-to-back losses to NC State at the Wolfpack's Invitational and a home loss to IPFW last Saturday in four sets. CMU averages 13.48 kills per set and hits .222, while netting 14.65 digs and 1.92 blocks per set.
NIU leads the all-time tilt over CMU 26-20.
Scouting Eastern Michigan
EMU is the only team with more non-conference wins than the Huskies as the Eagles are off to a 10-6 start. However, EMU has dropped its last four matches, most recently going 0-3 at the Michigan Invitational after losing in three sets to Michigan and four sets to Duke and Western Kentucky last weekend. The Eagles are totaling 12.79 kills per set and hitting .210. Defensively, they are tallying 16.06 digs and 1.86 blocks per set.
The Huskies own a 27-18 edge in the all-time series against EMU and have won seven of the last eight meetings.
As a team, the Huskies rank second in the MAC in opponent hitting percentage (.176), third in digs (16.89/set), which is also good for 37th in the nation, and fourth in aces (1.26/set). Individually, Amber Walker is fourth in digs (4.67/set) and 85th in the nation, Mary Kurisch is fourth in blocks (0.93/set), MacKenzie Roddy is sixth in aces (0.31/set) and eighth in kills (3.31/set), and Alexis Gonzalez is sixth in assists (9.82/set).
Pounding the Panthers
On Sept. 11, NIU gave Northern Iowa, who received 40 votes in last week's AVCA Poll, all they could handle despite still being fatigued from a long, successful weekend after winning 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 another Huskie comeback.
Angelos, Walker Sweep MAC West Offensive and Defensive Weekly Honors
On Sept. 11, 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.
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.
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 193-143 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 (Northern Illinois University Volleyball) and Twitter (@NIUVOLLEYBALL | @Raygooden_niu).
NIU finally returns to Victor E. Court for its MAC home opener as the Huskies will host Ball State Friday, Sept. 28, at 7 PM and Toledo Saturday, Sept. 29, at 7 PM.