Huskies Set for a Pink Weekend Against Kent State and Ohio

GO HUSKIES
GO HUSKIES

GO HUSKIES

Oct. 19, 2011

DeKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois volleyball team will put its five-match winning streak to test this weekend against Mid-American Conference East Division foes Kent State and Ohio this weekend. The Huskies (17-5, 6-2 MAC) face Kent State (8-15, 1-7 MAC) Friday, Oct. 21, at 7 PM CT and Ohio (15-7, 7-1 MAC) Saturday, Oct. 22, at 7 PM CT.

How To Follow
Both matches will feature live stats via GameTracker on NIUHuskies.com and live streaming video on Huskie All-Access.

Promotions
The Huskies are teaming up with Kishwaukee Community Hospital and Colleges Against Cancer to "Spike Cancer" this weekend. Friday's match will feature a "Pink Out" as all fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game. With a $5 donation to Colleges Against Cancer, fans can receive a pink Huskie t-shirt while supplies last. Saturday's contest features a pink buff giveaway and fans that wear a pink shirt to the match will receive $1 admission.

As with every Huskie home match this year, both matches will have a post-match autograph session.

Huskies Have High RPI
The initial RPI rankings of the 2011 season came out Monday and the Huskies stand at 26th in the country. Despite losing to Ball State on the road, NIU is the highest-ranked MAC team as BSU is 34th. Western Michigan (38), Ohio (56), and Eastern Michigan (64) are also in the top 100. RPI stands for Rating Percentage Index and is a quantity used to rank teams based upon wins, losses and strength of schedule.

Wiz Continues to Grab National Headlines
This week, the nation's kills and points leader Lauren Wicinski was featured in Volleyball Voices, the Chicago Tribune, and Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd." Check the Huskie Happenings (http://www.niuhuskies.com/blog/) blog for links to the features.

Huskies Stay Unblemished Against East Division
NIU is currently 3-0 against the MAC East Division after last weekend's wins at Akron and Buffalo. The Huskies extended their winning streaks versus the Zips and Bulls to eight and nine matches, respectively. NIU defeated Miami (Ohio) on Oct. 8 to start cross divisional play.

McGlaughlin One Dig Away From Rare 1,000-1,000 Club
With 1,310 career kills and 999 career digs, Allison McGlaughlin is just one dig away from becoming only the ninth player in NIU volleyball history to achieve 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in a career.

Wiz Becomes Fastest In MAC History 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 on Oct. 6. Not only did she become the fastest Huskie to reach 1,000 kills, she also became the fastest in MAC history to achieve the milestone. Fittingly, she had one of the best performances of her young career in the match, totaling 25 kills on 36 swings with only one error for a career-high .667 hitting percentage. With 1,063 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 on Oct. 8, 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 Moves Into NIU's Ninth 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. Following a 25-kill weekend, her career total of 1,310 now stands ninth on the list and is just five back of Jen VonderHaar (1999-02) for eighth, 18 shy of Gina Graf (1983-86) for seventh, 25 short of Tenisha Wilkins (1999-02) for sixth, and 28 behind Mandy Swick (1997-00) for fifth.

Wiz Captures MAC West Offensive Player of the Week Hat Trick
From Sept. 26 to Oct. 10, the name that appeared on the MAC West Offensive Player of the Week award was 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 Oct. 10, 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.

Leaders of the MAC
As of Oct. 17, the Huskies, who were the Mid-American Conference coaches' preseason pick to win the league, lead the MAC in kills (15.12/set), hitting percentage (.284), assists (14.13/set), and aces (1.56/set). They also rank fourth in digs (15.21/set).

Individually, Lauren Wicinski, the reigning MAC Freshman and Player of the Year, leads the league in points (6.59/set), kills (5.62/set) and aces (0.68/set), and is fifth in hitting percentage (.326). Kristin Hoffman paces the MAC in assists (12.42/set). Sarah Angelos is fourth in the league in hitting percentage (.341). Amber Walker ranks ninth in digs (3.59/set).

Leading the Country
As of Oct. 17, NIU leads the NCAA in kill and assists, ranks sixth in hitting percentage. The Huskies also rank 31st in winning percentage and 33rd in aces.

Individually, Lauren Wicinski leads the nation in points and kills, is third in aces. Kristin Hoffman also leads the nation in assists, while Sarah Angelos is 79th in hitting percentage (.341).

Scouting Kent State
The Golden Flashes enter the weekend having lost nine of their last 10 matches and stand 8-15 on the year, 1-7 in MAC play. Coming off a pair of 3-0 losses at home to Toledo and Ball State last weekend, KSU has a 1.95-1.73 blocking advantage over its opponents. Away from home, KSU is 4-2 on the year. The Golden Flashes' lone MAC win came at Buffalo on Oct. 7, but they have lost all other matches against common opponents to the Huskies: IUPUI, Miami (Ohio), Central Michigan, Akron, Toledo, and Ball State.

NIU owns a 24-6 edge over KSU in the all-time series and has won each of the last four meetings. Last season, the Huskies won at Kent State in five sets on Oct. 22, 2010.

Scouting Ohio
The Bobcats have won 10 of their last 11 matches heading into the weekend. Standing at 15-7, 7-1 in MAC play, Ohio is coming off a split weekend that saw Ball State hand Ohio its first MAC loss in Athens. The Bobcats responded by sweeping Toledo the next day. With a 5-3 road record, Ohio holds advantages over its opponents in hitting percentage (.185-.168 and blocks (2.91-1.93). Both the Huskies and Bobcats have lost to Ball State this year, while both teams have defeated Miami (Ohio), Akron, Buffalo, and Toledo. The only common opponent that OU has taken down and NIU has not is Eastern Michigan.

The all-time series between the Bobcats and Huskies is tied, 13-13. NIU ended a 10-match losing streak to Ohio last season with a 3-1 win in Athens on Oct. 23, 2010, but the Bobcats got the last laugh by winning 3-0 in the MAC Championship match on Nov. 21, 2010, in Toledo, Ohio.

Efficient Edge
NIU has outhit its opponents this season to the tune of .284-.223. The Huskies are 15-1 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 15.12-12.48 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. 11 Northern Iowa, No. 15 Iowa State, and Texas A&M, who received 35 votes in the latest poll.

Road Warriors
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 8-1 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.

Gooden Plenty
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 173-134 record at NIU, including a 105-91 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.

Next Up
The Huskies travel to Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan next weekend to return to West Division conference play. NIU takes on EMU on Friday, Oct. 28, at 6 PM CT and CMU on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 6 PM.

-NIU-