Oct. 11, 2010
DeKALB, Ill. - The remarkable freshman campaign of Northern Illinois volleyball player Lauren Wicinski continues to grow as she was named Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week for the fourth time, the league announced on Monday. In adding to her school-record total of selections, the outside hitter also became the fourth Huskie to garner the honor in consecutive weeks, and is the first rookie to do so.
"Lauren was outstanding all weekend," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. "We are proud to see her continue to develop and be recognized for her efforts. But without the solid play of her teammates, the positive results that we've had would not be nearly as much. This [award] is really a reflection of our entire team."
The Geneva, Ill. product came up huge in two road wins for Northern Illinois last weekend, totaling 59 points (6.56/set), 52 kills (5.78/set), and five aces (0.56/set). The country's No. 1 freshman in points (5.74/set), kills (4.83/set), and aces (0.64/set) put up 28.5, 25 ,and two, respectively, in a five-set win over preseason MAC West favorite Central Michigan. She then did even better by tallying 30.5 points, 27 kills, and three aces in a four-set win against then-MAC West first place Eastern Michigan, including ending the match with four kills in a row for the Huskies.
Wicinski's marvelous performances extended a few recent statistical trends. She has had 13 or more points in all 21 matches this season and has 20 straight contests with double digit kills, including totaling 25 or more in four of her last six. Additionally, she has served up an ace in eight consecutive matches.
The first high school All-American in NIU volleyball history leads the MAC in aces, points, and kills, while she ranks fifth, sixth, and eighth in the nation, respectively, in the same categories.
The more important result from Wicinski's epic weekend was that she helped the Huskies move into sole possession of first place in the MAC West as NIU extended its winning streak to five matches. The 19-2 Huskies also improved to 5-0 on the road for the first time since 1992 and moved to 5-1 in league play, something that hasn't been done since 2006.
The Huskies get back to action this weekend at the NIU Convocation Center's Victor E. Court. NIU will face MAC East first place Akron (13-5, 5-1 MAC) on Friday at 7 p.m. CT before hosting Buffalo (14-8, 2-4 MAC) on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Tickets are available at the door for $5 (adults) and $3 (youth). NIU students will get in for free with a valid NIU OneCard. On Saturday, individuals who bring a ticket stub from the Huskies' football game versus Buffalo will be admitted for just $1.