Spikers rebound from Redbird loss at UWGB

By Jennifer Hutchins

The NIU volleyball team dealt with the cold this weekend by raising the temperature indoors as it took on the Illinois State Redbirds and conference foe Wisconsin Green-Bay.

NIU managed to up its conference record to 4-2 and its overall slate to 18-6 when it defeated Green Bay on the road Saturday, but only after dropping a home match a day earlier against Illinois State.

The Huskies were still hot Friday, but ISU was just a shade warmer—defeating NIU in four games: 15-9, 15-8, 11-15, and 17-15. NIU was down 0-10 in the fourth game before tying the score at 15-15. Unfortunately, the Redbirds came out as victors and clinched the match.

“It’s really too bad we couldn’t have taken that last game,” NIU head volleyball coach Pete Waite said. “Illinois State is just a real solid team with not many weaknesses. I’m really happy with the way we played. By being able to come back as we did, it shows a lot of character.”

NIU junior Wendy Mason led the Huskies on the offensive attack with a .479 hitting percentage. Mason had 27 kills in 48 attempts and four errors. Meanwhile, Mason was second on the defensive charts with 14 digs and teammate Becky Ramsey had a team high 19 to top the list.

“Wendy (Mason) had a super night,” Waite said. “She had smart shots at the right times and right places. With her 27 kills and 14 digs she has a ‘double-double’ and I was pleased with the way she played.”

NIU had an easier time overall Saturday against Green Bay, beating the Phoenix in three games: 15-9, 15-7, 15-13. The Phoenix are now 11-11 for the year and 2-4 in the North Star Conference.

The Huskies immediately jumped out ahead in game number one, 13-1, before allowing Green Bay eight points. The only other time the Phoenix posed a real threat was in the third game when UWGB held a 8-5 lead over the Huskies.

“It was a good job on our part to play steady, aggressive ball during that third game,” Waite said. “As a team we hit .260 which shows we were real solid and very aggressive at the net. It is consistency like this that we need to continue to have.”

Sophomore Kori Schauer, 6-4, led NIU with eight kills in 15 attempts for a .533 hitting accuracy. Other top hitters were Michelle Detry with a .500 clip and Ramsey with a .346 killing average (11 K, 2 E, 26 TA).

NIU must now prepare for Tuesday’s home match against intrastate rival DePaul University.