Sept. 27, 2007
DeKalb, Ill. - The Northern Illinois (6-10, 0-2) volleyball team will look to continue their success at home in Mid-American Conference competition this weekend when NIU hosts Central Michigan (11-3, 2-0) on Friday, September 28 at 7 p.m. and Eastern Michigan (12-5, 2-0) on Saturday, September 29 at 7 p.m.
In 2006, the Huskies were solid at home, going 6-2 against MAC opponents. In NIU head coach Ray Gooden's five years with Northern Illinois, he has compiled a 26-19 record at home in conference play.
"It's good for us to get back home and get a full week of work in to get ourselves solidified," said Gooden.
The Huskie offense is led by freshman Dani D'Ambrose's (Addison, Ill. / Addison Trail) 4.12 kills per game (4th in MAC) and sophomore Meagan Schoenrock's (Sylvania, Ohio / Northview) 3.81 kills per game (6th in MAC) along with senior Mandi Caputo's (Chicago, Ill. / Immaculate Heart of Mary / DePaul) 11.75 assists per game, which ranks her second in the MAC. The Huskie defense is led by freshman Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill. / North), who is averaging 4.67 digs per game (6th in MAC).
The Chippewa attack is headed by the MAC leaders in kills and assists per game. Kate Fissel has an average of 4.93 kills a game to go with Courtney Kersten's 12.49 assists a game. Alexis Lonneman leads CMU in digs with 4.46 per game.
"Central Michigan is having a great year," Gooden said. "Erik Olson is doing a great job with his team. His kids are now experienced with having the same core for three years and they are very balanced."
Becky Reenders fronts the EMU offense with 3.38 kills a game and Kate Sulewski has an average of 11.52 assists per game, which is fourth best in the MAC. Defensively, Kim Jarzynka leads the Eagles with 4.55 digs a game.
"Eastern Michigan probably has the best setter in the MAC in Kate Sulewski, so that will take them a long way," said Gooden. "They also have some very good hitters. Their style of play is one where they are pretty relentless on defense as well. We have two more tough matches to battle, but every match is tough in our conference."
Saturday night's match is Youth Night for all kids in eighth grade and younger. Admission will only be $1.00 for youths and there will be an autograph session following the match.