DeKALB, Ill. - With the NCAA first round meeting against No. 25 Miami (25-4, 16-4 ACC), NIU will be making its sixth all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and first under 10th-year Head Coach Ray Gooden. The Huskies and Hurricanes have never met before and have no common opponents this year. The match will be played at 5 PM CT on Friday, Dec. 2, in Ames, Iowa, at Iowa State's Hilton Coliseum.
The winner of the match goes on to the second round to face the winner of Friday night's No. 4 Iowa State-Milwaukee match on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 6:30 PM CT at Hilton Coliseum. The winner of the second round match will head to the Minneapolis Regional next weekend.
How To Follow Live stats will be available on NCAAsports.com and free streaming video will be on Cyclones.com.
Tickets Single session tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for youth (high school and younger). All-session tickets are $14 for adults and $10 for youth. All tickets can be purchased on Cyclones.com. Saturday's second round match will feature $8 adult tickets and $6 youth tickets.
Scouting Miami The AVCA No. 25-ranked Hurricanes are 25-4, 16-4 in ACC play. Miami, who finished second in the ACC, enters the match after knocking off ACC first place No. 21 Florida State. The Hurricanes have won nine of their last 10 matches and feature ACC Player of the Year Lane Carico.
NCAA Bound This will be NIU's sixth overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament and first since 2001. The only other time the Huskies received an at-large bid was in 1998.
Gooden Named MAC Coach of the Year For the second time in his career, NIU Head Coach Ray Gooden was named MAC Coach of the Year on Nov. 23. He also won the honor in 2006, sharing it with Ohio's Geoff Carlston. This year, Gooden has the award all to himself after leading NIU to the MAC championship match for the second straight year, a feat that was last accomplished by an NIU coach in 1997-98. Including Gooden, only three NIU coaches have won the MAC's top accolade. It's the sixth time NIU has had a conference coach of the year overall.
Wiz, Hoffman Earn MAC All-Tournament For the first time since 2001, the Huskies were represented on the MAC All-Tournament team as Lauren Wicinski and Kristin Hoffman were both honored as two of five standouts during last weekend's MAC Tournament at SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.
Roddy, Kurisch Enter MAC Tourney Record Book In NIU's semifinal match against Ball State, both MacKenzie Roddy and Mary Kurisch played large roles in helping NIU to a 3-1 win. Roddy opened the match a perfect 8-for-8 and ended up with 15 kills and a .684 hitting percentage, the fourth highest in MAC Tournament history. Kurisch notched 11 kills and a .647 attack percentage to give her the sixth highest hitting performance in MAC Tournament history.
MAC West Division/Regular Season Champions With a 3-1 win at Western Michigan Nov. 10th, the Huskies locked up their first MAC West Division title since 2006 and first MAC regular season championship since 2001. NIU's 14 MAC wins are the most since 2001. The division title is NIU's fifth since being affiliated with the MAC (1997, 1998, 2001, 2006, 2011). The regular season title is NIU's second (2001, 2011).
Wiz Named MAC Player of the Year Again After being named MAC Player and Freshman of the Year in 2010, Lauren Wicinski repeated the feat as she was named 2011 MAC Player of the Year on Nov. 17th. No other player in conference history had won both honors as a freshman and now no other player has won Player of the Year in each of her first two seasons. She is the fifth player to earn the honor in consecutive years and the last to do it since Ohio's Ellen Herman from 2008-09. Only two other Huskies have been MAC Player of the Year before Wicinski -- Jenny Bowman in 2001 and Kate McCullagh in 2006.
Hoffman Named MAC Setter of the Year Also on Nov. 17th, Kristin Hoffman became NIU's first ever to win MAC Setter of the Year distinction. She currently leads the country with 12.29 assists per set.
Five Huskies Garner All-MAC Selections With the announcement of the All-MAC teams on Nov. 17th, NIU was well-represented as Kristin Hoffman, Mary Kurisch, and Lauren Wicinski earned first team selections. Sarah Angelos and Allison McGlaughlin garnered second team nods. The five honorees are the most NIU has had since being a member of the MAC and the most in the league since Ohio's six selections in 2006. The three first team recipients are the most NIU has had in the MAC as well, and most in the league since Ohio's four in 2009. Both Hoffman and Wicinski were first team choices last year, too. McGlaughlin collected her third second team selection. Angelos and Kurisch were both honored for the first time.
Walker, Wiz Sweep MAC's Final Weekly Awards On Nov. 14th, Amber Walker and Lauren Wicinski were named MAC West Division Defensive and Offensive Player of the Week, respectively. The selection was Walker's first of her career and Wicinski's school-record 10th, fifth in 2011. The dual accomplishment marked the first time in school history that the Huskies swept the league's weekly honors.
Capital One Academic All-District Trio Three weeks ago, Kristin Hoffman, Allison McGlaughlin, and Lauren Wicinski earned Capital One Academic All-District 5 recognition. Both Hoffman (3.97 GPA, history major) and McGlaughlin (3.96 GPA, elementary education major) earned first team status for the second straight year, while Wicinski (3.41 GPA, education major) was a second team honoree in her first career selection. NIU has never had three selections before and is one of four Division I schools to have three players honored this year.
Huskies Remain In The Top 20 RPI Rankings Six weeks ago, NIU stood at 26th in the initial RPI rankings of the 2011 season and five weeks ago moved up three spots to No. 23. Four weeks ago, the Huskies were up three spots again to No. 20. Three weeks ago, NIU was up another spot to No. 19. Two weeks ago, NIU came in at No. 16. Last week, the Huskies were down one spot to No. 17. This week, NIU is up three spots to No. 14. The Huskies are the highest-ranked MAC team as Western Michigan is 32nd. Ball State (34), Ohio (51), Eastern Michigan (68), and Central Michigan (74) are also in the top 100. RPI stands for Rating Percentage Index and is a quantity used to rank teams based upon wins, losses and strength of schedule.
Hoffman Nets 4,000th Assist During the Nov. 4 win over Toledo, Kristin Hoffman achieved her 4,000th career assist. She is just the third player in Huskie history to reach the milestone.
McGlaughlin Joins Rare 1,000-1,000 Club With the first of six digs in Oct. 21's win over Kent State, Allison McGlaughlin became the 14th Huskie in program history to tally 1,000 career digs. Last year, she was the 17th Huskie to reach 1,000 career kills. With over 1,000 career kills and digs, she is only the ninth player in NIU lore to join the exclusive 1,000-Kills, 1,000-Digs Club.
McGlaughlin's 1,436 kills rank fifth all-time at NIU. She is 48 kills away from Amber Howard (1995-98) for fourth place. Her 1,105 digs rank 10th, four away from Tamara Stutheit (1995-98) for ninth place.
20-20 Vision NIU's 3-1 win at Eastern Michigan Oct. 28 marked the Huskies' 20th of the season, giving Head Coach Ray Gooden his fourth 20-win season in 10 years at NIU and second straight. Overall, the Huskies have posted 21 seasons at or above the 20-win mark since their first year of volleyball in 1970.
10-10 Vision The Huskies' 3-1 win at Central Michigan Oct. 29 gave NIU 10 MAC wins on the year, marking Gooden's third season with double-digit conference wins and second straight.
Huskies Unbeaten Against MAC East Division NIU finished 7-0 against the MAC East Division. The Huskies lost just four of 25 sets to the East.
Wiz Is Fastest In MAC History To 1,000 Kills Lauren Wicinski needed just 54 matches to become the 18th member of NIU's 1,000 Kill Club as she tallied the milestone kill in the second set in a 3-0 win over Western Michigan on Oct. 6. Not only did she become the fastest Huskie to reach 1,000 kills, she also became the fastest in MAC history to achieve the milestone. Fittingly, she had one of the best performances of her young career in the match, totaling 25 kills on 36 swings with only one error for a career-high .667 hitting percentage. With 1,275 career kills, Wicinski ranks 12th all-time at NIU.
Wiz Captures MAC Player of the Week Hat Trick From Sept. 26 to Oct. 10, the name that appeared on the MAC West Offensive Player of the Week award was Lauren Wicinski. After a stellar performance in the MAC opening weekend, Lauren Wicinski grabbed her second MAC weekly award on Sept. 26 as she totaled 48 kills (6.86/set) and hit .287 with four aces in two matches. She then topped those numbers in NIU's first MAC road weekend, totaling 64 kills (7.11/set) with a .420 hitting percentage, 29 digs and six aces in two matches, including a career-high 39-kill performance against Toledo. For her efforts, she was earned the honor again on Oct. 3. On Oct. 10, she garnered the recognition for the fourth time this season to extend her school career record total to nine selections. All she did was pick up her 1,000th career kill while leading NIU with 38 kills (6.33/set), hitting .414, and racking up six aces in a pair of Huskie wins.
Leaders of the MAC As of Nov. 28, the Huskies, who were the Mid-American Conference coaches' preseason pick to win the league, lead the MAC in kills (15.05/set), hitting percentage (.282), assists (14.01/set), and aces (1.45/set). They also rank for fourth in digs (15.45/set).
Individually, Lauren Wicinski, the two-time reigning MAC Player of the Year, leads the league in points (6.19/set), kills (5.32/set) and aces (0.59/set), and is 10th in hitting percentage (.304). Kristin Hoffman paces the MAC in assists (12.29/set). Sarah Angelos is second in the league in hitting percentage (.360) and Mary Kurisch is sixth (.326). Amber Walker ranks eighth in digs (3.89/set).
Leading the Country As of Nov. 28, NIU leads the NCAA in kills and assists and ranks seventh in hitting percentage. The Huskies also rank 16th in winning percentage (.824), and 49th in aces.
CVU.com Recognizes Wiz's Big Week Lauren Wicinski was named one of 11 Top Performers for the week of Sept. 26-Oct. 2 by Collegiate Volleyball Update (CVU.com). Becoming the second Huskie to earn the honor (Meagan Schoenrock, 2008), Wicinski's 39 kills versus Toledo was one shy of the NIU record set in 1999, six short of the MAC record and most in the league since 2003, and eight away from the NCAA record established in 1997.
NIU Gets Votes In AVCA Top 25 For the first time since 2001, the Huskies received votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Top 25 Poll, as voted on by the nation's coaches. NIU received six votes in the September 5th poll. Despite a tough loss to Texas A&M on Sept. 10, the Huskies received four votes in the September 12th and September 19th polls to remain in the top 25 mix for three straight weeks. Last week's Nov. 14 poll saw NIU gather the most votes of the season with 15, and NIU repeated that showing in the Nov. 21 poll. Three of NIU's six losses this season have been to No. 12 Northern Iowa, No. 14 Iowa State, and Texas A&M, who received 52 votes in the latest poll.
Road Warriors On Sept. 10, the Huskies wrapped up an eight-match, 12-day road swing with an impressive 7-1 record. The lone loss came to Texas A&M on the second-to-last match of the trip during Stephen F. Austin's Ladyjack Invitational. Lauren Wicinski (35 kills, nine digs, three aces, two blocks) and Kristin Hoffman (85 assists, 15 digs) were named to the all-tournament team for their outstanding efforts at SFA. Currently, NIU is 12-1 on the road with the lone loss coming at Ball State on Sept. 30 in a tough five-set decision. The last time the Huskies finished a season with just one road loss was in the 1972-73 campaign, when NIU ended with a 5-1 mark.
Huskies Win Bluejay Invitational On Sept. 2-3, the Huskies went 3-0 to claim the Bluejay Invitational title. NIU took down host Creighton 3-0, Marquette 3-1, and South Dakota 3-0. Lauren Wicinski took home tournament MVP and Kristin Hoffman was named to the all-tournament team as well. Wicinski totaled 49 kills, 31 digs and seven aces during the tournament, while Hoffman handed out 121 assists along with netting 19 digs and eight kills.
Huskies Hold Their Own The opening weekend's NIU Invitational featured three 2010 NCAA Tournament Teams that received votes in the 2011 AVCA Preseason Poll: Cincinnati (received 22 votes), No. 18 Iowa State, and No. 14 Northern Iowa. The Huskies swept Cincinnati and hung tough with ISU and UNI, scoring under 20 points in only two of seven sets against the top 20 duo and claiming the first set against ISU, 25-21. NIU also held its opponents at the invite to a .253 attack percentage while the Huskies hit .280.
NIU Invitational All-Tournament The sophomore duo of Sarah Angelos and Lauren Wicinski earned all-tournament honors at the NIU Invitational. Angelos totaled 30 kills and six blocks in the four matches, while Wicinski notched 76 kills, 45 digs, nine blocks and five aces.
Wiz Gets First 2011 Player of the Week Honor Just like she did last season, Lauren Wicinski garnered the first Mid-American Conference West Division Offensive Player of the Week honor of the year, the league announced Aug. 30. In four matches at the NIU Invitational, she earned an all-tournament selection as she compiled MAC-best 5.43 kills per set with a .312 hitting percentage and five aces.
Starting Off On The Right Foot For the fourth straight season, and ninth time in 10 tries under Gooden, the Huskies won their season opener. The triumph was a 3-1 decision over IUPUI on Aug. 26. The lone season in which NIU did not win its first match came in 2007, when the Huskies fell in five sets to Indiana at Victor E. Court. The Huskies are also 9-1 in home openers under Gooden.
With a 3-0 sweep at Green Bay Aug. 30, the Huskies won their third straight road opener, marking their 16th consecutive win against the Phoenix, who NIU is 19-1 against all-time.
By sweeping Central Michigan Sept. 23 at home, the Huskies claimed their MAC season opener for just the second time in 10 years under Gooden.
Gooden Plenty In his 10th season as NIU head coach, Ray Gooden is coming off his most successful season. The program's second all-time wins leader owns a respectable 184-135 record at NIU, including a 92-71 mark in MAC play and an impressive 102-54 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, five MAC All-Freshman and three MAC Player of the Year selections, along with the only three All-Americans in program history. Five players have also reached the 1,000-kill plateau under Gooden: Tara Lobdell, Kate McCullagh (1,936 kills, second in MAC history), Meagan Schoenrock, Allison McGlaughlin, and Lauren Wicinski. He has also twice been named MAC Coach of the Year (2006, 2011).
Building Off Historic 2010 Campaign NIU returns all but one player from last season's team that finished second at the Mid-American Conference tournament, tallying the most wins (27) since 1998 and best conference finish since 2001. The Huskies got off to a record 11-0 start to 2010 and ended the season ranked fifth in the country in wins, 29th in winning percentage (.771), 31st in hitting percentage (.256), 33rd in kills per set (14.01) and assists per set (13.07), and 38th in aces per set (1.52).
Individually, the Huskies had six MAC West Division Player of the Week selections, including Lauren Wicinski's school career record five in just her freshman season. Wicinski also became the first in league history to garner MAC Player and Freshman of the Year in the same season. Additionally, she became the second Huskie to earn AVCA Honorable Mention All-American recognition, and the first to do so as a rookie. Joining Wicinski on the All-American list was teammate Kristin Hoffman, who became the program's first ever ESPN/CoSIDA Academic Third Team All-American. Hoffman's classmate Allison McGlaughlin was also recognized on the ESPN/CoSIDA Academic All-District 5 First Team. Wicinski and Hoffman were honored on the All-MAC First Team as well, while graduated libero Maddie Hughes was a Second Team selection.