NIU Volleyball Announces 2010 National Letters of Intent



Nov. 18, 2009

DeKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois volleyball team announced its National Letters of Intent from the high school class of 2010 today, as the Huskies will add four talented student-athletes to next year's team.

Of the newest Huskies, two were all-state selections in 2009, and all four bring solid height into the mix, as three are over six feet tall and the other is 5-10.  While two of the newcomers are from Illinois, the Huskie coaching staff also spanned the Midwest's Nebraska and Minnesota to bring in added depth for 2010.   

"This is probably the most athletic class I've ever had at Northern Illinois," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden.  "I feel that we have found four volleyball players that have tremendous ceilings."

Below are bios on each of the four signees, along with a scouting report from the NIU coaching staff.

Sarah Angelos
Middle Blocker
Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan

High School: Four-year letterwinner for Waukegan H.S. in volleyball and basketball ... received All-Lake County first team recognition by The News Sun for her junior and senior seasons ... twice named team captain in volleyball (2009, 2008) and was team captain in basketball three times (2009, 2007, 2006) ... registered 176 kills, 52 blocks and 12 aces in 30 matches in 2009 ... named team MVP as a junior ... totaled 161 kills and 16 aces in 30 matches in 2007 ... selected to honorable mention all-county team as a freshman, third team as a sophomore and second team as a junior ... garnered honorable mention all-county in basketball as a sophomore.

Club: Member of Wisconsin Juniors VBC ... Went 17-1 in 2009 with third-place finish in JVDA Club Division ... Finished 16-1 in 2008 with fifth-place finish in JVDA Open Division.

Personal: Major - Undecided ... Birthdate - December 31, 1991 ... daughter of Tom and Joy Angelos ... participated in FROLF and Bulldog Inc. in high school ... admires Michael Jordan ... made high honor roll all semesters of high school career ... was a three-time Central Suburban League Scholar Athlete ... twin sister Amy will be playing volleyball at Bradley in 2010.

Gooden: "I really like Sarah's aggressiveness as a blocker.  I feel with the way we are trying to run both our offensive and defensive systems, she will be a good fit."

Assistant Coach Dan Pawlikowski: "Sarah is a blocking presence, and with her athletic ability, she will continue to improve in all areas.  She will push the middles in the class ahead of her to get better and form a solid combination for us at that position."  

Assistant Coach Coley Pawlikowski: "She will fit in well with our group of middles, especially with her athletic ability."

Tori Halbur
Outside Hitter
Omaha, Neb./Millard West

High School: Two-year letterwinner at Millard West H.S. ... team captain in 2009 ... registered 178 kills, 30 blocks and 25 aces in 31 matches during her senior campaign ... led the Wildcats to district runner-up finishes in 2008 and 2009.

Club: Member of Omaha Wave VBC from 2006-08 ... totaled 266 kills and 123 blocks in 102 matches ... set single-season digs record (133) for Omaha Wave Junior Club ... played with Nebraska Elite VBC in 2009.

Personal: Major - Biology ... Birthdate - April 24, 1992 ... daughter of Doug and Lisa Halbur ... involved with FCCLA, FCA, and student council in H.S. ... admires former University of Nebraska volleyball standout Sarah Pavan ... named to honor roll every year of H.S. ... aspires to be a marine biologist.

Gooden: "I'm excited about Tori's physical presence and her potential as a pin hitter."

C. Pawlikowski: "Tori is very dedicated and committed to getting better, bigger and stronger.  She will do whatever it takes to be in a situation to grow the most.  I think the way Tori plays the game above the net will be a good fit for us."



Lauren Wicinski
Outside Hitter
Geneva, Ill./Geneva

High School: Four-year letterwinner at Geneva H.S. ... named to first team all-state by the Chicago Sun-Times ... nominated for 2009 Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year (announced on Dec. 16) ... twice named team captain and MVP (2009, 2008) ... led Geneva to back-to-back Western Sun Conference and Regional championships in 2008 (30-8, 12-2) and 2009 (35-3, 14-0) ... registered 356 kills with a .691 attack percentage, 63 aces and 37 blocks in 38 matches in 2009 ... compiled a school record 380 kills in 2008, along with a .589 attack percentage, 57 aces and 32 blocks in 38 matches ... tallied 297 kills with a .520 attack percentage, 36 aces and 18 blocks in 2007 ... had 110 kills with a .406 attack percentage, 39 aces and 16 blocks in 2006 ... garnered the team Most Improved award as a sophomore ... named to first team All-Western Sun Conference and was conference MVP in 2008 and 2009 ... was selected to all-conference team as a sophomore ... received all-area recognition by the Daily Herald, Kane County Chronicle, and The Beacon News from 2007-09 ... named Geneva H.S. Offensive Player of the Year and won the Chris Malone Award (outstanding student-athlete) in 2008 ... three-year varsity letterwinner in basketball (2007-09) ... led Geneva to 2007 and 2008 conference championships ... named to all-conference and all-area by the Daily Herald, Kane County Chronicle, and The Beacon News in 2007-08 ... made third team all-state in 2008.

Club: Member of Kane County Juniors VBC ... named MVP of 18 Gold Team in 2008 ... earned Most Improved award on 18 Gold Team in 2007 ... has played at the 18s level since her sophomore year.

Personal: Major - Education ... Birthdate - July 15, 1992 ... daughter of Rob and Gina Wicinski ... participated in Key Club in HS ... volunteers through St. Peters Church in her hometown of Geneva ... mother Gina played volleyball for NIU from 1983-87 ... father Rob played football for NIU from 1981-85.

Gooden: "I think Lauren has a very high volleyball I.Q.  She has a very good chance of making an immediate contribution to our program.  I'm excited with what she has done in her career up to this point."

D. Pawlikowski: "We are excited for her high school accolades that she has been receiving.  We look forward to her being an impact player here for years to come.  She is a very well-rounded, versatile volleyball talent."

C. Pawlikowski: "She has all the components to be one of the better players in the Mid-American Conference and I look forward to the opportunity to help her do that.  I think it's special that her parents have a legacy at NIU as athletes and it's an exciting opportunity for her to carry that on."

Kayla Zeno
Lake Elmo,Minn./Stillwater Area

High School: Four-time letterwinner for Stillwater Area H.S. ... led SAHS to a school record 20-8 finish in 2007 and improved every year, going 23-7, 7-1 in 2008 and 26-6, 9-0 in 2009 to win conference and sectional championships and take fourth in the state championship ... selected to Minnesota High School Coaches Association all-state team and made Class AAA first team all-state in 2009 ... named to All-Suburban East Conference team in 2008 and 2009 ... earned honorable mention all-conference recognition as a freshman ... registered 146 kills, 102 blocks and 55 aces through 27 matches in 2009 ... recognized on the All-Tournament team for the 2009 AAA State Tournament ... selected as Stillwater H.S. Female Athlete of the Month in Sept., 2009 ... totaled 136 kills, 54 aces and 39 blocks in 30 matches in 2008 ... compiled 147 kills, 35 aces and 25 blocks in 28 matches in 2007 ... holds school records for season (726) and career assists (2,026 - previous record was 1,474).

Club: Member of Mizuno Minnesota One VBC ... selected to USAV A2 Program in 2007, as one of the top 80 players in the U.S. for her age.

Personal: Major - Biology ... Birthdate - February 12, 1992 ... daughter of Mike and Liz Zeno ... admires Penn State setter Alisha Glass ... made honor roll as a freshman and sophomore ... aspires to be a geneticist ... named an all-star at the 2008 University of Minnesota team camp and was named best setter at the 2009 camp.

Gooden: "Kayla has all the tools to be a high level setter.  She brings a physical front row presence, in addition to her setting ability."

D. Pawlikowski: "Kayla has a good opportunity to come in and learn the setter position at the collegiate level, and will do a good job of running a team at some point in her career at NIU."

C. Pawlikowski: "I think Kayla is one of the more athletic setters that NIU has had.  She is a winner and has strong leadership skills.  That is something that we will look for her to continue at NIU." 




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