Huskies Host Cross-Divisional Foes Buffalo and Akron this Weekend



Oct. 10, 2012

DeKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois volleyball team continues cross-divisional play in the Mid-American Conference this weekend as the Huskies (13-9, 4-2 MAC) host Buffalo (7-11, 1-5 MAC) Friday, Oct. 12 at 7 PM CT and Akron (10-8, 3-3 MAC) Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7 PM at Victor E. Court, where NIU is 4-3 this season.

The Last Meeting
Northern Illinois3
October 15, 2011
Buffalo, N.Y.
Huskies Win Fifth Straight, Top Buffalo 3-0
The Northern Illinois volleyball team remained perfect on the weekend with a 3-0 win over Buffalo Saturday night at Alumni Arena in a West-East Division Mid-American Conference matchup. The Huskies improved to 17-5, 6-2 in the MAC, with their fifth consecutive win. The victory also bumped NIU's road record up to 8-1 in 2011.

The Last Meeting
Northern Illinois3
October 14, 2011
Akron, Ohio
Huskies Win Fourth Straight with 3-2 Decision at Akron
Needing five sets to win for the first time all season, the Northern Illinois volleyball team took down Akron 3-2 Friday night at Rhodes Arena in a cross-divisional Mid-American Conference matchup. In winning their fourth straight match, the Huskies (16-5, 5-2 MAC) improved to 7-1 in road contests.

How to Follow
Both matches will have live stats and paid streaming video through Buffalo live stats and video. Akron live stats and video.

Notes from NIU's First Split Weekend in MAC Play
In the first of two split home-road weekends, NIU went 1-1 after falling in three sets to Western Michigan last Thursday and defeating Miami (Ohio) in three last Saturday ... NIU has now won 10 of its last 14 matches since dropping a season-high three straight matches Sept. 1-4 ... The Huskies went off for a season-high .412 hitting percentage against Miami to pick up their fifth straight win over the Red Hawks ... The 3-0 sweep of Miami marked Ray Gooden's first such win in Oxford ... Amber Walker led the defense with a 3.83 digs average ... Sarah Angelos led the offense with 3.17 kills per set and a .459 attacking clip during the week.

NIU Stands 119th in Second NCAA RPI Rankings
In the NCAA's second RPI Rankings, the Huskies are 119th out of 330 Division I teams. The highest MAC school is Bowling Green (65th) and lowest is Buffalo (257). Five of the league's teams are ranked in the top 100 - Bowling Green (65th), Eastern Michigan (71st), Central Michigan (75th), Ohio (79th), and Western Michigan (86th).

Roddy Earns NIU's First MAC Scholar-Athlete of the Week Award for the Fall
Last Thursday, MacKenzie Roddy was named the MAC's Female Scholar-Athlete of the Week, which marked the first time she earned the honor in her career and the first time that a Huskie won the honor this fall semester. A sophomore accountancy major with a 3.893 GPA, Roddy led NIU to a perfect 2-0 MAC home opening weekend after being at Victor E. Court for the first time since an 8-6 road trip. She helped the Huskies earn their third straight win over Ball State (3-1) on Sept. 28 as she tallied 15 kills, 12 digs, two blocks, and an assist and ace for 17 points, while hitting a respectable .316. In NIU's third straight win over Toledo (3-0) on Sept. 29, and 12th in the last 14 meetings, Roddy totaled 12 kills, eight digs, two blocks, and hit .333. For the weekend, the San Bernardino, Calif. native averaged 4.43 points, 3.86 kills, 0.57 blocks, 0.14 aces, and hit .323.

Scouting Buffalo
The Bulls are 7-11 overall and 1-5 in league play and have lost five of six matches since a three-match winning streak on Sept. 14-15. Buffalo is 0-6 on the road this season and is coming off a 3-1 loss at Kent State last Friday and 3-0 loss at Ohio last Saturday. UB averages 12.18 kills per set and hits .167. Defensively, the Bulls net 14.22 digs and 2.28 blocks per set.

NIU owns a 14-2 edge in the all-time series versus Buffalo and has won nine straight, including a 3-0 win at Buffalo last season on Oct. 15, 2011.

Scouting Akron
The Zips are 10-8 overall and 3-3 in MAC play. Since winning five straight matches on Sept. 7-14, Akron has gone 3-4. The Zips enter the weekend after falling 3-0 at Ohio last Friday and bouncing back for a 3-0 win at Kent State last Saturday. Akron averages 13.78 kills per set and hits .233, while totaling 14.45 digs and 2.09 blocks per set.

The Huskies hold a 19-8 lead in the all-time series against Akron and have won eight in a row, including a 3-2 win at Akron last season on Oct. 14, 2011.

MAC Leaders
As a team, the Huskies rank third in the MAC in digs (16.46/set), which is also good for 58th in the nation, third in opponent hitting percentage (.189) and fourth in aces (1.28/set). Individually, Amber Walker is fourth in digs (4.64/set) and 96th in the nation, Mary Kurisch is ninth in hitting (.286), MacKenzie Roddy is third in aces (0.35/set) and seventh in kills (3.44/set), Alexis Gonzalez is sixth in assists (10.11/set), which is good for 94th in the nation, and seventh in aces (0.30/set), and Meghan Romo is sixth in kills (3.46/set).

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 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 197-145 record at NIU, including a 117-93 mark in MAC play and an impressive 117-57 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 wraps up cross-divisional play on the road by traveling to Ohio for a 6 PM match on Fri., Oct. 19 and going to Kent State for a 6 PM match on Sat., Oct. 20.




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