Oct. 1, 2008
DeKalb, Ill. - The Northern Illinois volleyball team will finish a stretch of five road matches in six contests this weekend with trips to Mount Pleasant, Mich. and Ypsilanti, Mich. to face Central Michigan (8-6, 2-0) on Friday at 6 p.m. CST and Eastern Michigan (6-10, 1-1) on Saturday at 2 p.m.
"We know that both Central and Eastern are difficult places to play," said Huskie head coach Ray Gooden. "Both teams will be excited to play in their first conference home matches of the year."
In order to have a successful weekend, one of the keys for the Huskies (9-7, 1-1) will be to continue to handle the ball well. The Huskies have 95 serve errors, compared to their opponents 129 and have just 49 serve reception errors, while their foes have 80.
"We have really stressed taking care of the ball this year," Gooden said. "We try to be as aggressive as we can with serves to put pressure on our opponents."
NIU is led by Meagan Schoenrock's (Sylvania, Ohio/Northview) 4.85 kills a set, which is tops in the MAC and third in the nation. Schoenrock has tallied double-digit digs in every match this year and has a streak of 18 consecutive matches that dates back to the last two matches of 2007.
Freshman Allison McGlaughlin (Morton, Ill./Morton) ranks second on the team with 3.02 kills a set along with a team-high average of 0.43 aces per set and sophomore Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill./North) leads the Huskie defense with 4.08 digs per set.
Central Michigan ranks second in the league with 1.73 aces per set. Kate Fissel averages a team-best 3.16 kills a set and Stephanie Budde nets 10.31 assists per set. Alexis Lonneman's 4.00 digs per set paces the Chippewa defense. NIU leads the all-time series versus CMU, 21-15, but lost the last contest, 3-0, in Mount Pleasant on November, 3 2007.
"Central Michigan is one of the top serving and blocking teams in our conference," said Gooden. "It will important for us to handle their serves and pass the ball well in order to put pressure on them."
Eastern Michigan's 16.34 digs per set is tops in the conference, led by Kim Jarzynka's 4.67, which ranks third in the MAC. Victoria Randolph leads the Eagles with 2.90 kills a set and Ashley Mason averages 9.08 assists per set. The Huskies lead the series against the Eagles, 20-16, with the last match-up being a 3-1 win for EMU in Ypsilanti on November 2, 2007.
"Eastern Michigan does very well defensively and a lot of times they force teams into making errors." Gooden said. "We really need to take care of the ball against them."
The Huskies begin a four-match homestand next Friday, October 10 against Ball State (5-11, 1-1) at 7 p.m. in Victor E. Court.