No. 4 Huskies Face No. 5 Akron in MAC Tournament Friday



Nov. 15, 2012

NIU-Akron Notes Get Acrobat Reader

The Last Meeting
Northern Illinois3
October 13, 2012
DeKalb, Ill.
Huskies Win Comeback Thriller in Five over Akron
It wasn't easy, but the Northern Illinois volleyball team gutted out a comeback 23-25, 25-18, 18-25, 25-23, 15-10 win Saturday night at Victor E. Court over Akron in a cross-divisional Mid-American Conference meeting. The Huskies (15-9, 6-2 MAC) used slim kills (59-54), digs (85-81) and blocks (13-11) edges to nip the Zips (10-10, 3-5 MAC) for the ninth straight time.

2012 MAC Tournament Bracket Get Acrobat Reader

DeKALB, Ill. - Ending the Mid-American Conference regular season with wins in four of its last five contests, the No. 4-seeded Northern Illinois volleyball team faces No. 5 seed Akron (16-12, 9-7 MAC) in the first round of the eight-team MAC Tournament Friday, Nov. 16 at 10 a.m. CT in Geneva, Ohio at SPIRE Institute. The Huskies (19-13, 10-6 MAC) finished the regular season in second place in the MAC West Division, while Akron finished third in the East. The winner will go on to face the winner of the No. 1 Ohio-No. 8 Ball State match in the semifinals.

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Gooden in the MAC Tournament
Since taking over in 2002, 11th-year NIU Head Coach Ray Gooden has guided the Huskies to a 9-9 record in the MAC Tournament and has won at least one match in the tournament in all but three seasons (2002, 2006, 2009). The Huskies have appeared in the MAC championship match in each of the last two seasons. NIU is 4-2 this season in neutral site matches, while Akron is 2-3.

10-10 Vision
The Huskies' 3-1 win at home on senior night over Bowling Green Nov. 10 gave NIU 10 MAC wins on the year, marking Gooden's fourth season with double-digit conference wins and third straight.

NIU Garners Four All-MAC Selections
For the fifth straight year, the Huskies had multiple All-MAC selections as the league announced its end of season awards Nov. 15. Sarah Angelos, who was a second team choice last season, and Mary Kurisch, who was a first team honoree in 2011, were first team selections, while Amber Walker was earned a second team nod. Rookie Alexis Gonzalez was chosen to the MAC All-Freshman team, marking the 10th Huskie to do so and sixth under Gooden. Overall, Gooden has had 31 All-MAC selections.

Kurisch and Walker Join the 1,000 Club
Against Western Michigan Nov. 8, Mary Kurisch picked up her 1,000th career kill to become NIU's 19th member of the 1,000 Kill Club, while Amber Walker tallied her 1,000th career dig to become NIU's 15th member of the 1,000 Dig Club.

Scouting Akron
The Zips are 16-12, 9-7 in MAC play, and have won six of their last eight matches since losing two straight at WMU and at NIU Oct. 12-13. Akron enters the tournament after a home weekend that included a 3-0 win over Kent State and 3-1 loss to Ohio. The Zips average 13.61 kills per set and hit .218, while totaling 15.61 digs and 2.01 blocks per set.

NIU owns a 20-8 lead in the all-time series over Akron and has won nine in a row. Each of the last two meetings between the teams have gone to five sets. After going down 2-1 in the match this season on Oct. 13, the Huskies fought back for a 23-25, 25-18, 18-25, 25-23, 15-10 win. NIU used slim kills (59-54), digs (85-81) and blocks (13-11) edges to nip the Zips. MacKenzie Roddy led NIU with 17 kills and a career-high 19 digs and season-best four blocks.

Gooden Earns Career Win No. 200
The 3-0 win over Central Michigan on Oct. 27 marked NIU Head Coach Ray Gooden's 200th career win - all with NIU - and made him just the second in Huskie history to reach the 200-win plateau. Gooden ranks second all-time on the NIU wins list with 203, 63 victories behind leader Pete Waite (1988-98).

NIU Stands 117th in Seventh NCAA RPI Rankings
In the NCAA's seventh RPI Rankings, the Huskies are 117th out of 330 Division I teams. The highest MAC school is Ohio (60) and the lowest is Kent State (237). Four of league's teams are in the top 100 - Ohio (60), Western Michigan (69), Bowling Green (71) and Eastern Michigan (95).

MAC Leaders
As a team, the Huskies lead the MAC in aces (1.29/set), rank third in opponent hitting percentage (.189), and fourth in digs (16.44/set), which is also good for 70th in the nation, and fifth in hitting (.212). Individually, Amber Walker is fourth in digs (4.87/set), which is good for 77th in the nation. Sarah Angelos is fourth in hitting (.304), Mary Kurisch is sixth in hitting (.298). MacKenzie Roddy is first in aces (0.33/set) and sixth in kills (3.39/set). Alexis Gonzalez is seventh in assists (10.20/set), which is good for 90th in the nation, and fourth in aces (0.30/set). Meghan Romo is seventh in kills (3.36/set).

Roddy Earns NIU's First MAC Scholar-Athlete of the Week Award for the Fall
On Oct. 4, 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.

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 203-149 record at NIU, including a 123-97 mark in MAC play and an impressive 121-58 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.

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