Lobdell earns First Team All-MAC nod, McCullagh named Honorable Mention for Huskie Volleyball


November 17, 2004

CLEVELAND, OH--- Northern Illinois University women's volleyball player Tera Lobdell has been mentioned among the Mid-American Conference's elite ever since winning the 2001 MAC Freshman of the Year award. Despite three All-MAC appearances since then, however, the senior had never earned a spot on the league's First Team---until this year.

Lobdell (Plymouth, MN / Robbinsdale Armstrong) and sophomore Kate McCullagh (Woodstock) were both awarded spots on the 2004 All-MAC Team commissioner Rick Chryst announced Wednesday (Nov. 17). McCullagh garnered her first All-MAC appointment with a spot on the Honorable Mention squad. The sophomore was also a member of last season's All-Freshman Team.

"It's a great honor to have both players recognized by the MAC," Huskie head coach Ray Gooden said. "Both have had career years statistically and have consistently been leaders for us on both sides of the ball."

When all is said and done, Lobdell's 2004 slate could arguably be considered one of the greatest single seasons in NIU Volleyball history. The Plymouth, MN, native---who set a school record with 492 kills last fall---has absolutely destroyed that mark this season, standing at 682 put-aways so far this year. In addition to re-setting her single-season standard, Lobdell also became Northern Illinois' career kills leader on Sept. 25 and took over the top spot on the MAC's career kills list as well by collecting her 1,828th successful swing last Thursday (Nov. 11). Her current 5.78 kills per game pace leads the MAC, ranks fifth nationally, and is on pace to shatter the NIU record of 4.28 kills per contest set by Mandy Swick back in 1999.

"Tera just has a keen sense of knowing how to score," Gooden added. "It's not always the most overpowering thing you'll ever see, but her instincts have been able to help her become quite a prolific scorer."

Lobdell moved into second place on NIU's career digs list and became just the fourth player in school history to accumulate 400 digs in a season Saturday (Nov. 13). Her 423 total digs and 3.58 digs per game pace rank third in the annals of Huskie Volleyball, and she has also moved up into the school's career top 10 in service aces, block solos, and matches played.

This season, Lobdell has led the Huskies in kills in all but one match, compiling at least 20 kills in 21 of 32 contests. Included in that total is a span of six 20-kill matches in a row from Oct. 2 to Oct. 20 and her second career 30-kill effort Thursday (Nov. 11) against Toledo. She owns 23 kill-dig double-doubles and came within one block of earning her first ever triple-double in a five-game loss to Butler back on Sept. 4.

McCullagh has been perilously close to a triple-double of her own on more than one occasion this fall. The sophomore had 12 kills, nine digs, and nine blocks at Toledo on Oct. 29 and was even closer with 16 kills, 10 digs, and nine blocks at Akron on Oct. 15. She leads all Huskies with a .253 hitting percentage on the season and falls second only to Lobdell with 3.65 kills per game. McCullagh scorched the net for 27 kills at a .383 (27-4-60) clip against South Florida, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Over her last five matches, the Woodstock High School product has 73 kills and is hitting .412 (73-17-136). Not coincidentally, the Huskies have won all five of those contests including a 3-1 victory over Toledo Thursday (Nov. 11) during which McCullagh played arguably her best collegiate match. On her way to 17 kills, she attacked the net at a gaudy .636 (17-3-22) pace to go with five digs and seven total blocks. It was McCullagh's 27th double-digit kill effort of the season and 10th match with six blocks or more.

"As a coaching staff, we have always been excited about Kate's potential," Gooden explained. "She has embraced the challenge of having to step up and be a scorer for this team, and it's really exciting to watch her as she develops into one of the better players in the MAC."

The Huskie record book has a few McCullagh sightings as well. That .636 effort against Toledo is the third-best four-game hitting percentage in school history. Her 130 block assists this season rank as the seventh-best NIU single-season total, just 12 behind the all-time record of 142 set by Becky Stewart in 1997. McCullagh's 144 total blocks are also No. 6 all-time.

Joining McCullagh on the Honorable Mention list are Melissa Griffin of Ohio, freshman Carli Reihman of Miami (OH), Bowling Green's Taylor Twite, and Jessica Holly and Tinesha Tierney of Western Michigan. Along with Lobdell, Ohio placed a pair of players on the First Team in setter Briana Adamovsky and outside hitter Julia Winkfield. Marshall freshman Kelly-Anne Billingy, Sarah Obras of Ball State, and Western Michigan's Shaylen Jackson round out the First Team honorees.

Lobdell and McCullagh will both look to keep their efforts up as Northern Illinois heads to Bowling Green, OH, for the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament. The No. 7 seed Huskies are scheduled to take on No. 2 Ball State at 11:00 a.m. (EST) on Friday (Nov. 19) at Bowling Green State University's Anderson Arena.


2004 All-Mid-American Conference Teams
First Team
Briana Adamovsky, Ohio
Kelly-Anne Billingy, Marshall
Shaylen Jackson, Western Michigan
Tera Lobdell, Northern Illinois
Sarah Obras, Ball State
Julia Winkfield, Ohio

Second Team
Stephanie Blackburn, Ohio
Emily Busch, Eastern Michigan
Ashley Elliott, Ohio
Danielle Holt, Kent State
Stephanie Keller, Ball State
Rachel Refenes, Ball State

Honorable Mention
Melissa Griffin, Ohio
Jessica Holly, Western Michigan
Kate McCullagh, Northern Illinois
Carli Reihman, Miami (OH)
Tinesha Tierney, Western Michigan
Taylor Twite, Bowling Green

2004 Mid-American Conference All-Freshman Team
Stephanie Blackburn, Ohio
Kelly-Anne Billingy, Marshall
Melissa Griffin, Ohio
Carli Reihman, Miami (OH)
Ashley Schatzle, Western Michigan
Jenn Stewart, Akron



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