Sept. 26, 2012
DeKALB, Ill. - For the first time in 31 days, the Northern Illinois volleyball team will play a home match as the Huskies (10-8, 1-1 MAC) host their Mid-American Conference home opening weekend against Ball State (9-6, 2-0 MAC) Friday at 7 PM CT and Toledo (7-7, 1-1 MAC) Saturday at 7 PM.
How to Follow
Both matches will feature live stats via GameTracker (Ball State | Toledo) on NIUHuskies.com and live, paid streaming video (Ball State | Toledo) through Huskie All-Access.
Notes from NIU's 1-1 MAC Opening Weekend
The Last Meeting
November 19, 2011
The Last Meeting
November 4, 2011
NIU Pushes to 10 Straight Wins with Sweep of Toledo
For the 15th time this season, the Northern Illinois volleyball team came away with a three-set win as NIU took down Toledo 3-0 at Victor E. Court Friday night in a Mid-American Conference West Division contest. Improving to 22-5, 11-2 in MAC play, the Huskies pushed their season-long winning streak to 10 matches and grabbed a share of first place in the division.
NIU went 1-1 in its opening MAC weekend on the road, beating Central Michigan 3-1 last Friday and falling to Eastern Michigan 3-0 Saturday...NIU spoiled Central Michigan's 2011 Mid-American Conference tournament championship celebration night fueled by motivation from last year's MAC title match loss as NIU improved to 5-0 in its last five regular season contests against CMU...NIU's second loss in its last nine matches against EMU marked the end of a 23-day, 14-match road trip that accounted for 42 percent of the NIU schedule as the Huskies walked away with a solid 8-6 record on the excursion...MacKenzie Roddy's elevated play over the past few weeks continued as she has 56 kills, 29 digs and six aces over the last three matches and is hitting .286 -- since a tough showing at the Pacific Invitational, Roddy has rebounded to tally double-figure kills in eight of the 11 matches since and has had multiple aces in four of the last six...Amber Walker led NIU in digs on the week, averaging 5.00 per set, as she has had 14 or more digs in seven of the last eight matches and has had only one reception error in the last seven matches (109 attempts).
Scouting Ball State
Ball State went 2-0 in its MAC opening weekend at home, taking down Toledo in three and Akron in four. The Cardinals are 9-6 on the season and have won five straight matches. The Cardinals have already played eight home matches (7-1) and are 1-2 in road matches and 1-3 in neutral site matches. As a team, BSU is averaging 14.27 kills per set and hitting .229. Defensively, the Cardinals are netting 16.92 digs and 1.75 blocks per set.
The all-time series between NIU and BSU is tied 27-27. The Huskies have won the last two matchups as they won in four sets at the MAC Tournament Nov. 19 to advance to the MAC Championship match in the last meeting between the two teams.
Toledo split its MAC opening weekend with a road loss in three to Ball State and a home win in four against Buffalo. Overall, the Rockets are 7-7 and have won six of their last nine matches. UT is 0-4 on the road and 4-2 in neutral site matches. The Rockets are averaging 11.43 kills per set and hitting .179. UT is totaling 13.24 digs and 2.00 blocks per set.
NIU leads the all-time tilt over Toledo 31-9. The Huskies swept last year's series and have won 11 of last 13 meetings.
As a team, the Huskies rank second in the MAC in digs (17.16/set), which is also good for 31st in the nation, third in opponent hitting percentage (.184) and fifth in aces (1.21/set). Individually, Amber Walker is fourth in digs (4.71/set) and 86th in the nation, Mary Kurisch is fourth in blocks (0.94/set) and ninth in hitting (.286), MacKenzie Roddy is fourth in aces (0.31/set) and sixth in kills (3.35/set), Alexis Gonzalez is sixth in assists (9.94/set), and Meghan Romo is eighth in kills (3.33/set).
Huskies Win in a Flurry of a Hurry
Playing all three matches in less than a 24-hour span on Sept. 14-15, 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. 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.
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 194-144 record at NIU, including a 114-92 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 continues its season-long, three-match home stand Thursday, Oct. 4, against Western Michigan at 7 PM before traveling to Oxford, Ohio to face Miami (Ohio) at 4 PM Saturday, Oct. 6.