Oct. 30, 2013
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DeKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University volleyball team continues their four-match homestand this week when they host Western Michigan Thursday and Miami (Ohio) Saturday.
The NIU-WMU contest will be broadcast live on Time Warner SportsChannel and ESPN3, while Comcast SportsNet Chicago will show the match in tape-delay beginning at 8 p.m. Two days later, the Huskies host the MU RedHawks in a 7 p.m. contest.
"We're coming at the end of the crossover and the second half of division play to where everything like seeding and qualifying for the tournament are important," "Western Michigan is going to be really hungry to come in here and even the season series. Miami is going to try and do the same thing and get a good roll going at the end of crossover play. We've got to do our best to continue to defend, handle the ball well and improve from that Kent State match and use that as our standard of play for the rest of the year."
NIU split their two matches last weekend against MAC East foes. Friday, the Huskies dropped a 3-1 decision to the Ohio Bobcats. They would bounce back Saturday, though, with a convincing 3-0 sweep of the Kent State Golden Flashes.
Meanwhile, the Huskies face a pivotal MAC West match Thursday night against WMU. The Broncos currently sit at 13-10 overall and 6-4 in the MAC - one game above NIU in the West Division. An NIU win would put them in a tie with WMU and also give the Huskies the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Broncos.
"It's awesome. It's our first time in Victor E. Court having a TV match," Gooden said about Thursday's televised contest. "I'm really excited about people getting the chance to see Victor E. Court, our style of play and our atmosphere. Hopefully we can continue to show positives for our department and program."
On Saturday, NIU takes on Miami (Ohio) to close their four-match homestand. Though the RedHawks are 10-12 overall and 2-8 in conference entering the weekend, only one team - Kent State on Oct. 5 - has been able to sweep MU in the conference season, proving that they are still a dangerous team.
Scouting Western Michigan
Western Michigan enters Thursday night's match with a 13-10 overall record and a 6-4 MAC mark - one game ahead of the Huskies in the MAC West - and have won three of their last four matches following a 3-3 start to the conference season. Last weekend, the Broncos swept Kent State before falling to Ohio, 3-2. WMU is led on the court by sophomore middle blocker Stephenee Yancy, who ranks fourth in the MAC with 3.39 kills/set. Meanwhile, four other Broncos - Rachel Sheffer (2.66 kills/set), Claire Gerwig (2.44), Alysia Baznik (2.39) and Ave Stout (2.17) - average over two kills per set. On defense, senior libero Lena Oliver sits fourth in the conference with 4.76 digs/set. The Broncos lead the all-time series with the Huskies, 31-20. However, NIU claimed a 3-2 win in Kalamazoo earlier this season after trailing, 2-1, after three sets to the Broncos.
Scouting Miami (Ohio)
Miami (Ohio) sits at 10-12 overall and 2-8 in the MAC following last weekend's identical 3-1 losses at Toledo and Ball State. After starting the year 8-1, the RedHawks have gone 2-11 since Sept. 20 and are in the midst of a five-match road losing streak. Statistically, sophomore middle blocker Jenny Ingle paces the MU offense with 2.62 kills/set, while junior Meg Riley and sophomore Annie Reiswig average 2.51 kills/set and 2.33 kills/set, respectively, On defense, freshman Paige Hill ranks sixth in the MAC with 1.22 blocks/set. In the all-time series between Miami and NIU, the Huskies hold an 18-17 lead and have taken each of the previous four matches, including a 3-0 sweep last year in Oxford.
No Flash, Please
In Saturday's 3-0 sweep of Kent State, the Huskies held the Golden Flashes under 20 points in each of the three sets. It marked the first time that NIU has held an opponent under 20 points in all sets since Sept. 14, 2012, when they Huskies swept SIU Edwardsville, 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-16). The last time NIU accomplished such a feat in a Mid-American Conference match was Nov. 18, 2011, when they swept Bowling Green, 3-0 (25-12, 25-16, 25-17) in the first round of that year's MAC Tournament. More interestingly, Saturday's win was the first such occurrence for the Huskies in a MAC regular season match since the NCAA changed to 25-point sets in 2008.
The Last Meeting
September 26, 2013
Huskies Topple Western Michigan, 3-2
The Northern Illinois volleyball team opened their conference slate on a positive note Thursday night in Kalamazoo, Mich., with a big 3-2 win against Western Michigan in the Mid-American Conference opener for both teams.
Movin' Up the Charts
With her career nearing its end, senior middle blocker Sarah Angelos
is making quite the mark on the NIU record books. Currently the nation's active career leader in sets played, the Waukegan, Ill., native has seen action in 486 sets and 130 matches, putting her third and 10th, respectively, in Huskie annals. In addition, Angelos is second in career attack percentage (.325) and 15th in kills (1,184). On defense, she is tied for 13th in total blocks (311), 13th in block solos (65) and 15th in block assists (246). Staycationing
After hosting Ohio and Kent State this past weekend, the Huskies have now played 15 home matches this season. That ranks them first in the nation for most home matches among all 333 NCAA Division I schools. By the end of the season NIU will have hosted 19 matches in Victor E. Court, tying them with Arizona for the most in the country. In fact, next weekend's road trip to Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan will only be the fifth weekend out of 12 total that the Huskies will not be in DeKalb during the regular season.
The Last Meeting
October 6, 2012
NIU Sweeps Miami (Ohio) on the Road to Wrap Split Weekend
Rebounding from a tough loss at home to Western Michigan Thursday, the Northern Illinois volleyball team bounced back in impressive fashion by sweeping Mid-American Conference East Division foe Miami (Ohio) at Millett Hall for the first time under NIU Head Coach Ray Gooden. The 25-19, 25-17, 25-20 win was the Huskies' (13-9, 4-2 MAC) fifth straight win over the RedHawks (5-14, 0-6 MAC) and gave them an 18-17 lead in the all-time series.
By holding Kent State to a .068 attack percentage Saturday, the Huskies recorded their second-best defensive effort in that statistical category on the year, as they held Liberty to .030 Aug. 31. Prior to that, the lowest hitting average the Huskies have allowed in a single match was .036 Sept. 7, 2012, vs. New Orleans in the Missouri State Invitational. Big Mac
Last season, outside hitter Mackenzie Roddy
emerged as a major threat on offense by finishing eighth in the MAC in kills. This year has been no different for the San Bernardino, Calif., native, who sits fifth in the conference with 3.38 kills/set. Even more impressive is that Roddy has only been held to less than 10 kills in two matches this season, while recording 15 or more kills on eight occasions. Home, Sweet Home
Victor E. Court has been a rather friendly place for the Huskies in the past and this year is no different. Including last Saturday's 3-0 sweep of Kent State, NIU boasts a 10-5 mark on their home floor this year and a 44-15 mark - a .746 winning percentage - in DeKalb since the start of the 2010 season. The Huskies have not lost at home to a team ranked outside of the RPI Top 100 since Oct. 26, 2012, when they lost a 3-1 decision to Eastern Michigan. Gooden Plenty
In his 12th season as NIU head coach, Ray Gooden
is now the longest-tenured coach in NIU Volleyball history. A three-time MAC Coach of the Year, Gooden has led the Huskies to three consecutive 20-win seasons and has guided the team to the last three MAC Tournament title matches. The program's second all-time wins leader owns a 218-162 record at NIU, including a 107-82 mark in MAC play and an impressive 131-63 tally at home. Additionally, Gooden has coached 25 All-MAC, 19 Academic All-MAC, six MAC All-Freshman and five MAC Player of the Year selections, along with the only seven All-American selections in program history. Six players have also reached the 1,000-kill plateau under Gooden. Up Next...
Northern Illinois heads to Michigan for their final road trip of the year next weekend. The Huskies face Central Michigan Friday at 6:30 p.m., then take on Eastern Michigan Saturday night at 6 p.m.