Oct. 8, 2008
Dig Pink - Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend
DeKalb, Ill. - The Northern Illinois volleyball team will begin its season-long four-match homestand with a pair of Mid-American Conference matches during Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend at Victor E. Court, starting with a 7 p.m. CST match-up with Ball State (7-11, 3-1) on Friday. The Huskies (10-8, 2-2) then face Toledo (9-8, 1-3) on Saturday at 7 p.m.
"It's important that our players as well as our institution stay involved with the current events of today," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. "This is definitely something that continues to gain momentum as we all do our part to help find a cure."
On Friday, fans can attend a health and fitness fair at the Convocation Center lobby before the match with a yoga class from 4:30-5:30 p.m. and a kickboxing class from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Anyone who participates in either class will then receive free admission to the match. The first 100 fans to each match this weekend will also receive a free "Dig Pink" NIU volleyball t-shirt.
The Huskies will hope to continue to defend Victor E. Court as they have done all season with a 7-1 mark, winning their last five matches at home. Junior Meagan Schoenrock (Sylvania, Ohio/Northview) paces the Huskie offense with 4.84 kills per set, which is tops in the MAC and third in the nation. Schoenrock is currently riding a streak of 20 consecutive matches with double-digit kills and in eight home matches she has tallied 117 kills and hit .340.
"As we have learned in our first four conference matches, every match in the MAC is going to be a dog fight," Gooden said. "It's great to play at home. Each match is going to be a big challenge for us."
Freshman Allison McGlaughlin (Morton, Ill./Morton) ranks second on the team and 10th in the league with 3.13 kills per set and also ranks third in the MAC with 0.43 aces per set. On defense, sophomore Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill./North) averages 4.15 digs per set, which is good for fifth in the conference.
Ball State comes to DeKalb on a three-match winning streak and the Cardinals are led by Julie Breivogel's 2.85 kills per set. BSU ranks fifth in the MAC in blocks with an average of 1.95 per set, led by Charde' Phillips' 0.89. Brittany McGinnis leads BSU in assists with 9.16 per set and Alyssa Rio averages a team-high 4.04 digs per set.
"Ball State is playing some of their best volleyball of the year right now," said Gooden. "They are playing with a lot of confidence and they are always a tough team to play whether it is at home or on the road."
NIU leads the all-time series against Ball State, 24-21, and won the last contest between the two, 3-1, in the first round of the MAC Tournament last year on November 13 at Victor E. Court. The Huskies have won their last five matches against the Cardinals.
Toledo has lost four of its last five matches, but won its last match, 3-1, over Akron. The Rockets lead the league in aces per set with an average of 1.69. Kassie Kadera ranks second in the conference and leads UT with 0.44 aces per set and also averages a team-high 10.60 assists per set. Amber DeWeerdt has a team-best 3.50 kills per set and Lori Ruth's 3.27 digs a set paces the Rocket defense.
"Toledo is always a strong serving team," Gooden said. "They have a lot of fresh energy and are playing at a pretty high level right now."
The Huskies lead the all-time series with Toledo, 24-7. In the last meeting, NIU came out on top, 3-0, at home on November 10, 2007.
NIU hosts Buffalo (5-13, 0-4) next Friday at 7 p.m. and Akron (7-8, 1-3) next Saturday at 7 p.m. to wrap up their longest homestand of the season.