NIU Hosts Western Michigan Thurs., Travels to Miami (OH) Sat.

GO HUSKIES
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GO HUSKIES

Oct. 2, 2012

DeKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois volleyball team faces one of two split Mid-American Conference weekends as the Huskies (12-8, 3-1 MAC) host Western Michigan (10-6, 3-1 MAC) in a West Division first place showdown Thursday, Oct. 4 at 7 PM CT in Victor E. Court. NIU will then travel to Oxford, Ohio to face Miami (Ohio) (5-12, 0-4 MAC) Saturday, Oct. 6 at 4 PM.

The Last Meeting
Northern Illinois3
Western Michigan1
November 10, 2011
Kalamazoo, Mich.
Huskies Clinch MAC Regular Season Title with 3-1 against Broncos
Facing a raucous crowd at WMU's University Arena, the Northern Illinois volleyball team defeated Western Michigan Thursday night, 3-1, to clinch the Mid-American Conference's West Division and regular season crown.

The Last Meeting
Miami (Oh)0
Northern Illinois3
October 8, 2011
DeKalb, Ill.
Huskies Top Miami (Ohio) 3-0 on Alumni Night
Behind the support of a ruckus crowd that included several Northern Illinois volleyball alumni, the Huskies topped Miami (Ohio) 3-0 Saturday night at Victor E. Court in a cross-divisional Mid-American Conference contest. The win gave NIU (15-5, 4-2 MAC) its third straight win and fourth straight against the RedHawks (12-8, 3-3 MAC).

How to Follow
Both matches will feature live stats and paid streaming video. The WMU match will have live stats and video through NIUHuskies.com. The Miami match will have live stats and video through MURedHawks.com.

Notes from NIU's 2-0 MAC Home Opening Weekend
After an 8-6 month-long road trip, NIU returned home to go 2-0 in its MAC home opening weekend by defeating Ball State in four sets last Friday and Toledo in three last Saturday ... The Huskies are now 3-1 in league play for the second time in three years (2010) ... NIU has won nine of its last 12 matches ... NIU held edges in kills (55-46), hitting percentage (.280-.240) and digs (52-49) to top the Cardinals for the third straight time and take a 28-27 lead in the all-time series ... Outside hitters Meghan Romo and MacKenzie Roddy combined for 34 kills, 19 digs and hit .320 against BSU ... The Huskies picked up their third straight triumph over Toledo, and their 12th in the last 14 meetings, by holding significant edges in hitting (.301-.129), kills (45-24), aces (7-1), digs (31-25), and blocks (8-5) ... The efficient hitting match against UT marked NIU's fifth this season over .300 ... Romo led the offense on the weekend by averaging 5.29 points and 4.71 kills per set while hitting .333 ... Justine Schepler led the Huskies in digs, averaging 3.00 per set to help NIU hold its opponents to a .200 attacking clip on the weekend.

NIU Stands 106th in First RPI Rankings
The NCAA released its first set of RPI Rankings this week and the Huskies are 106th out of 330 Division I teams. The highest MAC school is Bowling Green (68th) and the lowest is Miami (Ohio) (254th). Six of the league's teams are in the top 100 - Bowling Green (68th), Central Michigan (76th), Eastern Michigan (77th), Western Michigan (79th), Ohio (84th), and Ball State (87th).

Scouting Western Michigan
The Broncos are 10-6 overall and off to a 3-1 start in league play, leaving them tied with NIU atop the West Division. WMU swept Toledo last Friday and took down Ball State in four sets last Saturday, both at home. Since back to back losses on Sept. 8, the Broncos have won six of eight, but are 2-4 on the road. WMU averages 14.48 kills per set and hits .228 as a team. Defensively, the Broncos are totaling 17.33 digs and 1.69 blocks per set.

WMU leads the all-time series 30-18, but NIU has won two straight, including a 3-1 win in Kalamazoo, Mich. on Nov. 10, 2011 to clinch the MAC West crown in the last meeting.

Scouting Miami
The RedHawks are 5-12 overall and 0-4 in MAC play. Representing the East Division, MU is coming off two road losses over the weekend - a 3-0 decision to Buffalo and a 3-2 loss to Akron. Since winning four straight from Sept. 7-14, the RedHawks have dropped each of their last six matches. MU nets 11.87 kills per set and hits .176, while averaging 13.64 digs and 1.93 blocks per set on defense.

The all-time series is tied, 17-17, but NIU has won each of the last four contests, including a sweep at Victor E. Court on Oct. 8, 2011 in the last meeting.

MAC Leaders
As a team, the Huskies rank second in the MAC in digs (16.67/set), which is also good for 46th in the nation, third in opponent hitting percentage (.186) and fifth in aces (1.24/set). Individually, Amber Walker is fourth in digs (4.71/set) and 88th in the nation, Mary Kurisch is seventh in hitting (.288), MacKenzie Roddy is sixth in aces (0.29/set) and seventh in kills (3.40/set), Alexis Gonzalez is sixth in assists (10.05/set), which is good for 99th in the nation, and fifth in aces (0.30/set), and Meghan Romo is sixth in kills (3.46/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.

Gooden Plenty
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 196-144 record at NIU, including a 116-92 mark in MAC play and an impressive 117-56 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.

Social Central
Follow the Huskies all season long on Facebook (Northern Illinois University Volleyball) and Twitter (@NIUVOLLEYBALL | @Raygooden_niu).

On Deck
NIU returns home to face East Division foes Buffalo Oct. 12 at 7 PM and Akron Oct. 13 at 7 PM.

-NIU-