DePaul offers little relaxation

By Jennifer Hutchins

The NIU volleyball team can relax now that regular season conference matches are behind it, right?

Check again. The only thing the Huskies plan on relaxing is their coach, Pete Waite, who would like to see NIU defeat intrastate rival DePaul University tonight at 7 p.m. at Chick Evans Field House.

“I expect a great match,” Waite said. “It’s possibly the best season DePaul has ever put together by beating some really good teams this year. Plus, it’s always a great rivalry between the two teams. We’re definitely not going to have trouble getting up for it.”

The Huskies just barely defeated the Blue Demons in five games last year (16-14, 15-13, 13-15, 10-15, 16-14) when DePaul was still a member of the North Star Conference and shared the co-championship with NIU. Since then, the Blue Demons have become members of the Great Midwest Conference.

As Waite implied, the Blue Demons are having quite a season. DePaul is 24-5 for the season and 5-0 in the Great Midwest which includes such teams as Memphis State, Saint Louis, Marquette University, the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Cincinnati.

But success is stacked just as high on opposite sides of the net. NIU is 18-6 overall (4-2 in the NSC) following a close loss to Illinois State at home Friday and a much-needed conference victory against the hosting team from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Saturday.

“The team feels good about the weekend,” Waite said. “We played fairly well against ISU, but were a little disappointed with some of our errors. None of them were things we can’t work on though.”

Things turned around for the Huskies Saturday as they swept UWGB in three games.

“Saturday’s match was a good one,” Waite said. “The win against Green Bay let people know, going into the conference tournament (November 23-24), that we’re capable of being strong contenders.”

In 20 games between the two schools, NIU holds a 12-8 overall advantage.