Mason hunts for more kills in home-finale versus WIU

By Jennifer Hutchins

It took a couple years of on-the-court experience, but NIU volleyball player Wendy Mason has finally found her niche on the team.

Mason, a 5-10 junior from Lyons, Colo., is having her best season ever. Mason was named to three all-tournament teams in as many tournaments this season and was recently named North Star Conference Player of the Week.

“I think last year when I only played back row really helped,” Mason said. “Playing front row was always my favorite position and not being able to helped make me want to play even harder.”

The front row is certainly Mason’s hot spot. During the Huskies’ win over DePaul University Tuesday, Mason racked up 30 kills in 64 attempts and 10 errors for a .313 clip.

Last Friday’s match against Illinois State was even more impressive as the veteran hitter had 27 kills and a .475 hitting average.

“I think it’s an advantage to be one of the oldest girls on the team,” Mason said. “I’ve already been here two years so I’ve seen what past players have accomplished and know more what the team and coaches expect from one another.”

Opponents who breathe a sigh of relief when Mason rotates to the backcourt learn quickly that she is just as dangerous on defense. Not only does she regularly post double figures on the attack chart but the dig chart as well. Mason has had 11 “double-doubles” to date including five of the last six matches.

Mason and the Huskies, 19-6, have one more home match to add to those stats as NIU hosts Western Illinois University Saturday. The Westerwinds held a 10-10 record at the beginning of the week but are always tough competition against NIU. The series stands at 11-9-1 with the Huskies in the lead.

“We lost last year in four games,” Mason said. “They’re a strong team with a really strong defense but I think we can win the rest of the season up to the (NSC) tournament and hopefully even there. We’ve seen all the teams and know we can beat them.”

The Huskies’ home finale is scheduled to begin Saturday at 7 p.m. at Chick Evans Field House.