Pair of Huskies take home postseason all-conference accolades, Lobdell earns third straight honor


November 19, 2003

CLEVELAND, OH---For the third straight season, Northern Illinois University outside hitter Tera Lobdell (Plymouth, MN / Robbinsadle Armstrong) will get to tack "All-Mid-American Conference performer" onto her name as the junior was one of two Huskies to take home postseason MAC honors as announced by league commissioner Rick Chryst Wednesday (Nov. 19).

Lobdell was appointed to the Honorable Mention All-MAC squad for the second consecutive year after averaging 4.32 kills per game throughout the regular season. The Plymouth, MN, native---who also earned a Second-Team nomination at the conclusion of her freshman season---stood second on the Huskies with 2.94 digs per contest and racked up 64 total blocks including 14 solos. In total, Lobdell scored 547 total points for the Huskies, averaging out to 5.11 per game.

"Tera has matured a great deal from her sophomore to her junior year," NIU head coach Ray Gooden commented. "She has made really good strides in all areas of her game, because one of her goals is to be a complete volleyball player, and she has worked very hard to be just that."

A consistent force on the outside, Lobdell has notched at least 10 kills in 27 of her 29 matches this season while eclipsing the 20-kill barrier eight times. She also put up a career-best 32 successful swings during NIU's 3-2 victory over Valparaiso University in the championship match of the Comfort Inn and Suites DeKalb Invitational. Just one week earlier, with the Best Western DeKalb Inn and Suites title on the line against Big XII representative University of Kansas, Lobdell excelled again, posting 22 kills, 19 digs, and a career-high seven blocks in a 3-1 Huskie victory.

The intense push for a higher seed in the MAC Tournament and the pressure that comes with it has also brought out the best in Lobdell's game. Over the final three regular-season matches of the season, the junior racked up three of her team-leading 19 double-doubles including a 22-kill, 13-dig, six-block performance at Eastern Michigan University back on Nov. 8. She followed that up with 12 kills and 12 digs in Northern Illinois' 3-0 victory over the University at Buffalo in the first round of the MAC Tournament Tuesday (Nov. 18).

Joining Lobdell as one of four Huskies to rack up ten kills or more against UB was Kate McCullagh (Woodstock)---NIU's second postseason honoree as the Woodstock native was named to the league's All-Freshman squad. Since her second start of the season against Ball State University on Oct. 24, McCullagh has notched 10 kills or more in nine of ten matches and become the Huskies' anchor in the middle.

Defensively, McCullagh has quite simply been a force, posting six matches of seven total blocks or more including a pair of 12-block performances exactly one week apart (versus Buffalo on Nov. 1 and Eastern Michigan on Nov. 8). For the season, McCullagh is third on the team hitting chart at a rate of .215 while averaging 1.54 kills per game. Her 1.03 blocks per contest ranked 12th in the MAC as she became the third Huskie middle blocker to grace the league's top-15.

"Kate has just taken advantage of her situation and her opportunities," Gooden noted. "She is a contributing member of our team, and her role is beginning to expand with each match because her performance is paying great dividends."

Ohio University and Central Michigan University---the top two seeds in this year's conference tournament---dominated the all-conference listing, combining for seven nominations to the 18-member squad with all of those citations coming on either the First or Second Team. Each school also has one played tabbed as an All-Freshman performer.

With the All-Freshman Team included, 20 of the 24 honorees are still alive in the MAC Tournament as the eight remaining teams meet at Ball State's Worthen Arena for action this weekend. Northern Illinois takes on Akron at 3:00 p.m. (EST) in the second quarterfinal match Friday (Nov. 21). Central Michigan meets Marshall at 1:00 p.m. to kick off the day while Ohio battles Western Michigan at 5:00 p.m. and the host Cardinals take on Eastern Michigan in the 7:00 p.m. nightcap.

-30- --Copy by Brian Kedzior



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