Sept. 21, 2009
DeKALB, Ill. - With Mid-American Conference play starting this weekend, the Northern Illinois volleyball team will host one last non-conference match against local rival DePaul (6-7) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. CT before opening the MAC schedule on the road against Ball State and Toledo.
"We are trying to not only end our non-conference schedule on the right foot, but start the transition to conference play in a positive way," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. "The big keys will be playing consistent volleyball and having solid team play."
The Huskies (5-7) will be looking to rebound from a tough five-set loss at home last Tuesday to Milwaukee, and with no matches last weekend, they will have had a full week of practice to prepare. Sophomore Allison McGlaughlin (Morton, Ill./Morton) is coming off one of her best performances as she tallied 20 kills and 19 digs against Milwaukee for her fourth double-double of the season and led the team in kills for the fourth consecutive match. On the year, she leads NIU with 146 kills (3.56/set) and eight aces, while she also ranks second on the squad with 103 digs (2.51/set).
Seniors Meagan Schoenrock (Sylvania, Ohio/Northview), Cassie Yates (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) and Amanda Tadla (Oak Lawn, Ill./Oak Lawn) also play large roles in the Huskie attack. Schoenrock ranks second on the team with 129 kills (3.15/set), while Yates ranks third with 110 (2.68/set) and leads NIU in hitting percentage (.339) and blocks with 34 (0.83). Tadla runs the offense with an average of 10.29 assists per set (350).
In the back row, junior libero Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill./North) leads the Huskies with 181 digs (4.41/set) and has posted back-to-back matches with 20 digs.
The Blue Demons come into the match after going 1-2 over the weekend as they hosted an invitational with their lone victory coming against MAC West foe Eastern Michigan, 3-1. NIU owns the all-time series advantage against DePaul, 19-10, but the teams have alternated wins in each of the last four matchups with NIU taking last year's contest in Chicago, 3-1, on September 23.
Sycamore, Ill. native Sarah Cullen heads the Blue Demon attack with 174 kills (3.35/set), 15 aces, and leads the defense with 158 digs (3.04/set), while Sammy Geiger captains the offense with 461 assists (8.87/set).
"DePaul is coming off a weekend where they defeated one of our divisional MAC opponents in Eastern Michigan," Gooden said. "They are looking for the same thing we are - trying to gain momentum as they begin their Big East schedule this weekend. We both know that it will be a Chicago-area rivalry match too."
Fans who attend the match can take advantage of the "Two for Tuesdays" promotion as those who purchase an adult ticket will get an additional ticket for free. Fans can also follow the Huskies with live stats via GameTracker on niuhuskies.com.