Volleyball team’s desire pays off

By Jennifer Hutchins

In a true display of gut determination and desire the NIU volleyball team was crowned the North Star Conference champion this weekend.

The key words here are determination and desire. Had it not been for NIU’s never-say-die game plan, the championship would have been far from its reach.

The tournament, held at Cleveland State University, began Saturday and matched up the hosts and NIU in a match the Huskies triumphed in four games: 13-15, 15-7, 15-11, 15-8.

With a victory under their belt, the Huskies took on the University of Illinois-Chicago later that night to determine which team would be playing for the championship on Sunday.

NIU looked well on their way to a consolation game at the start of the match as UIC won the first two games 11-15, 12-5. The Huskies managed to win the following two sets 15-8, 15-12, but were down 13-10 in game five.

Desire kicked in and the Huskies pulled a comeback win during the final set, 15-13. NIU’s Amy Foulke had 19 kills in 42 attempts and 6 errors for a .310 percentage while teammate Becky Ramsey delivered 17 attacks in 45 attempts and five errors for a .267 percentage.

Meanwhile, Nikki Kozak lit up the backcourt with 25 digs followed by Foulke who handled 23 of her own.

Having proven once already they could handle the pressure of a close match, the Huskies were in for yet another one—this one the title match against Wright State University.

For the record, WSU defeated NIU during regular season play and once again the Huskies appeared to be heading for a loss during the first two sets as WSU won a pair 15-9, 15-11.

Apparently, NIU did not appreciate the walloping and delivered a powerful win in game three (15-5) before barely squeezing by the next two victories for the title, 15-13, 15-13.

Foulke was near the top of the offensive attack one more time with 21 kills in 53 attempts and 7 errors for a .264 percentage. Ramsey delivered 14 kills in 37 attempts and 4 errors for a .270 percentage while Kozak had another team high 23 digs on defense.

The post-victory celebration included the announcement that NIU’s freshman setter Shelby Snyder and Foulke made the First Team All-Conference selections, while teammate Wendy Mason made Second Team. Snyder was additionally named Newcomer of the Year.