Spikers’ dream year continues at tourney

By Jennifer Hutchins

The NIU volleyball team, which has produced somewhat of a dream season, has visions of victory dancing in its head.

Those dreams could become reality as the Huskies prepare to compete at the National Invitational Volleyball Championship Thursday through Saturday.

“We think we got into a really good pool and have a great chance to beat most or all of the teams in it,” NIU junior Wendy Mason said. “We played one of the teams in our pool—Villanova last year and beat them pretty easy.”

Twenty teams make up the NIVC field and are divided into four pools of five. Pool play begins Thursday and continues through Friday. The winner of each pool moves onto the semifinals Saturday with the title bout scheduled for Saturday evening

“It’s anyone’s game following the pool play,” Mason said. “It’s going to come down to whoever’s on because all the teams are really good. We haven’t even seen a lot of the teams so it’s going to be a big challenge.”

Appalachian State University, Santa Clara University, the College of William and Mary and Villanova join NIU in Pool D of the tournament. Santa Clara is the highest ranked of all the teams in the pool with a fourth place seed overall.

“We think we have an excellent opportunity based on the pool we’re in to go there and surprise a lot of people,” Michelle Detry said. “We just need to go in and make it a good showing.”

A good showing is about all the 25-7 Huskies have been capable of this season. NIU received the bid to the NIVC by claiming the North Star Conference title just over a week ago and have the unusual distinction of being a team made up entirely of freshman through juniors.

Assuming everything goes well, the Huskies dream season could span for a couple of years to come.

“We think about the future but don’t really talk about it,” Detry said. “We’ve just been concentrating on making the most of this season and then we’ll move on and make next year even bett