Oct. 12, 2011
DeKALB, Ill. - Riding a three-match winning streak, the Northern Illinois volleyball team embarks upon its second Mid-American Conference road trip this weekend, facing a pair of cross-divisional foes in Akron and Buffalo. The Huskies (15-5, 4-2 MAC) take on Akron (4-15, 1-5 MAC) Friday, Oct. 14, at 6 PM CT and Buffalo (9-11, 2-4 MAC) Saturday, Oct. 15, at 5 PM.
How To Follow
Friday's Akron match will have live stats and video available on GoZips.com. Saturday's contest against Buffalo will also have live stats and video available on BuffaloBulls.com.
Huskies Break Out The Brooms
Last week, the Huskies went 2-0 with a pair of sweeps to improve to 11-1 in three-set contests. Sweeps have accounted for 73 percent of NIU's 15 wins on the year. NIU's latest two sweeps came against Western Michigan last Thursday and Miami (Ohio) last Saturday, both at home. The Huskies win over WMU marked their first sweep of the Broncos since Nov. 3, 2001.
Wiz Becomes Fastest Huskie To 1,000 Kills
Lauren Wicinski needed just 54 matches to become the 18th member of NIU's 1,000 Kill Club as she tallied the milestone kill in the second set in a 3-0 win over Western Michigan last Thursday. Not only did she become the fastest Huskie to reach 1,000 kills in the match, she also had one of the best performances of her young career, totaling 25 kills on 36 swings with only one error for a career-high .667 hitting percentage. With 1,024 career kills, Wicinski ranks 18th all-time at NIU.
Hoffman Assists Third Huskie To 1,000th Kill
With her assist on Lauren Wicinski's 1,000th career kill last Thursday, Kristin Hoffman set up the 1,000th kill for a Huskie for the third time in her career. The senior has also assisted the milestone kill for classmate Allison McGlaughlin and Meagan Schoenrock (2006-09). The last Huskie to accomplish the feat was 2011 NIU Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Shelby Snyder (1991-94), who set the 1,000th kill for five different Huskies.
McGlaughlin Closing In On NIU's 10th All-Time Kills Spot
After netting her 1,000th career kill last year, Allison McGlaughlin has continued to climb the program's all-time kills list. With 1,285 career kills, the senior now stands 11th on the list and is just 11 kills shy of Kori Schauer (1990-93) for 10th, 14 away from Becky Stewart (1994-97) for ninth, and 30 back of Jen VonderHaar (1999-02) for eighth.
Wiz Captures MAC West Offensive Player of the Week Hat Trick
For three straight weeks now, the name that has appeared on the MAC West Offensive Player of the Week award has been Lauren Wicinski. After a stellar performance in the MAC opening weekend, Lauren Wicinski grabbed her second MAC weekly award on Sept. 26 as she totaled 48 kills (6.86/set) and hit .287 with four aces in two matches. She then topped those numbers in NIU's first MAC road weekend, totaling 64 kills (7.11/set) with a .420 hitting percentage, 29 digs and six aces in two matches, including a career-high 39-kill performance against Toledo. For her efforts, she was earned the honor again on Oct. 3. On Monday, she garnered the recognition for the fourth time this season to extend her school career record total to nine selections. All she did was pick up her 1,000th career kill while leading NIU with 38 kills (6.33/set), hitting .414, and racking up six aces in a pair of Huskie wins last week.
Leaders of the MAC
As of Oct. 10, the Huskies, who were the Mid-American Conference coaches' preseason pick to win the league, lead the MAC in kills (15.16/set), hitting percentage (.283), assists (14.17/set), and aces (1.52/set). They also rank third in digs (15.49/set).
Individually, Lauren Wicinski, the reigning MAC Freshman and Player of the Year, leads the league in points (6.67/set), kills (5.71/set) and aces (0.66/set), and is fifth in hitting percentage (.333). Kristin Hoffman paces the MAC in assists (12.46/set). Sarah Angelos is seventh in the league in hitting percentage (.325). Amber Walker ranks eighth in digs (3.74/set).
Leading the Country
As of Oct. 10, NIU leads the NCAA in kill and assists, ranks sixth in hitting percentage. The Huskies also rank 43rd in aces.
Individually, Lauren Wicinski leads the nation in points and kills, is fourth in aces and 96th in hitting percentage. Kristin Hoffman also leads the nation in assists.
The Zips enter the weekend after snapping an 11-match losing streak with a 3-0 win at home over Kent State. Akron is 4-15 this season and 1-5 in the MAC, but is 4-3 at home. As a team, the Zips hold a 1.70-1.60 blocking advantage of their opponents. Akron has fallen to Milwaukee, Marquette, Ball State, and Miami (Ohio), all common opponents that the Huskies defeated, except Ball State.
NIU owns an 18-8 lead in the all-time series against Akron and has won seven in a row, including a 3-1 decision in DeKalb on Oct. 15, 2010, in the last meeting.
The Bulls come into the weekend with a 9-11 record, 2-4 in the MAC. Buffalo has lost six of its last eight matches, including dropping a pair of home matches to Kent State and Ohio last weekend. The Bulls hold edges over their opponents in kills (12.46-11.49) and aces (1.51-1.27). UB has lost to the only two opponents it has in common with NIU this season - Toledo and Miami (Ohio).
The Huskies possess a 13-2 advantage in the all-time tilt with the Bulls and have won eight straight in the series. NIU won 3-0 in the last meeting on Oct. 16, 2010, at Victor E. Court.
NIU has outhit its opponents this season to the tune of .283-.227. The Huskies are 13-1 when they outhit their opponents and 2-4 when they do not. The two wins came at Green Bay (Aug. 30) and at Milwaukee (Sept. 6). The lone loss came at Ball State (Sept. 30). The hitting edge has led to a 15.16-12.62 kills discrepancy for NIU.
CVU.com Recognizes Wiz's Big Week
A day after being named Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week, Lauren Wicinski was named one of 11 Top Performers for the week of Sept. 26-Oct. 2 by Collegiate Volleyball Update (CVU.com). Becoming the second Huskie to earn the honor (Meagan Schoenrock, 2008), Wicinski's 39 kills versus Toledo was one shy of the NIU record set in 1999, six short of the MAC record and most in the league since 2003, and eight away from the NCAA record established in 1997.
NIU Receives Votes In AVCA Top 25 For First Time Since 2001
For the first time since 2001, the Huskies received votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Top 25 Poll, as voted on by the nation's coaches. NIU received six votes in the September 5th poll.
Despite a tough loss to Texas A&M on Sept. 10, the Huskies received four votes in the September 12th and September 19th polls to remain in the top 25 mix for three straight weeks. Three of NIU's five losses this season have been to No. 12 Northern Iowa, No. 15 Iowa State, and Texas A&M, who received 16 votes in the latest poll.
On Sept. 10, the Huskies wrapped up an eight-match, 12-day road swing with an impressive 7-1 record. The lone loss came to Texas A&M on the second-to-last match of the trip during Stephen F. Austin's Ladyjack Invitational. Lauren Wicinski (35 kills, nine digs, three aces, two blocks) and Kristin Hoffman (85 assists, 15 digs) were named to the all-tournament team for their outstanding efforts at SFA. Currently, NIU is 6-1 on the road with the lone loss coming at Ball State on Sept. 30 in a tough five-set decision.
Huskies Win Bluejay Invitational
On Sept. 2-3, the Huskies went 3-0 to claim the Bluejay Invitational title. NIU took down host Creighton 3-0, Marquette 3-1, and South Dakota 3-0. Lauren Wicinski took home tournament MVP and Kristin Hoffman was named to the all-tournament team as well. Wicinski totaled 49 kills, 31 digs and seven aces during the tournament, while Hoffman handed out 121 assists along with netting 19 digs and eight kills.
Huskie Hold Their Own
The opening weekend's NIU Invitational featured three 2010 NCAA Tournament Teams that received votes in the 2011 AVCA Preseason Poll: Cincinnati (Received 22 votes), No. 18 Iowa State, and No. 14 Northern Iowa. The Huskies swept Cincinnati and hung tough with ISU and UNI, scoring under 20 points in only two of seven sets against the top 20 duo and claiming the first set against ISU, 25-21. NIU also held its opponents at the invite to a .253 attack percentage while the Huskies hit .280.
NIU Invitational All-Tournament
The sophomore duo of Sarah Angelos and Lauren Wicinski earned all-tournament honors at the NIU Invitational. Angelos totaled 30 kills and six blocks in the four matches, while Wicinski notched 76 kills, 45 digs, nine blocks and five aces.
Wiz Captures First MAC West Offensive Player of the Week Honor of 2011
Just like she did last season, Lauren Wicinski garnered the first Mid-American Conference West Division Offensive Player of the Week honor of the year, the league announced Aug. 30. In four matches at the NIU Invitational, she earned an all-tournament selection as she compiled MAC-best 5.43 kills per set with a .312 hitting percentage and five aces.
Starting Off On The Right Foot
For the fourth straight season, and ninth time in 10 tries under Gooden, the Huskies won their season opener. The triumph was a 3-1 decision over IUPUI on Aug. 26. The lone season in which NIU did not win its first match came in 2007, when the Huskies fell in five sets to Indiana at Victor E. Court. The Huskies are also 9-1 in home openers under Gooden.
With a 3-0 sweep at Green Bay Aug. 30, the Huskies won their third straight road opener, marking their 16th consecutive win against the Phoenix, who NIU is 19-1 against all-time.
By sweeping Central Michigan last Friday at home, the Huskies claimed their MAC season opener for just the second time in 10 years under Gooden.
Entering his 10th season as NIU head coach, Ray Gooden is coming off his most successful season. The program's second all-time wins leader owns a respectable 171-134 record at NIU, including a 103-91 mark in MAC play and an impressive 98-54 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 17 All-MAC, five MAC All-Freshman and two MAC Player of the Year selections, along with the only three All-Americans in program history. Five players have also reached the 1,000-kill plateau under Gooden: Tara Lobdell, Kate McCullagh (1,936 kills, second in MAC history), Meagan Schoenrock, Allison McGlaughlin, and Lauren Wicinski.
Building Off Historic 2010 Campaign
NIU returns all but one player from last season's team that finished second at the Mid-American Conference tournament, tallying the most wins (27) since 1998 and best conference finish since 2001. The Huskies got off to a record 11-0 start to 2010 and ended the season ranked fifth in the country in wins, 29th in winning percentage (.771), 31st in hitting percentage (.256), 33rd in kills per set (14.01) and assists per set (13.07), and 38th in aces per set (1.52).
Individually, the Huskies had six MAC West Division Player of the Week selections, including Lauren Wicinski's school career record five in just her freshman season. Wicinski also became the first in league history to garner MAC Player and Freshman of the Year in the same season. Additionally, she became the second Huskie to earn AVCA Honorable Mention All-American recognition, and the first to do so as a rookie. Joining Wicinski on the All-American list was teammate Kristin Hoffman, who became the program's first ever ESPN/CoSIDA Academic Third Team All-American. Hoffman's classmate Allison McGlaughlin was also recognized on the ESPN/CoSIDA Academic All-District 5 First Team. Wicinski and Hoffman were honored on the All-MAC First Team as well, while graduated libero Maddie Hughes was a Second Team selection.
The Huskies return home to face MAC East Division Kent State and Ohio next weekend. NIU faces KSU on Friday, Oct. 21, at 7 PM and Ohio on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 7 PM.