NIU spikers face changes

By Jennifer Hutchins

Times they are a changing … .

The NIU volleyball team enters into the last season of North Star Conference play this weekend when it takes on University of Akron and Cleveland State University at home Friday and Saturday.

Beginning in the fall of 1992, the NSC will merge with the Mid-Continent Conference which presently includes Eastern Illinois University, Western Illinois University and Youngstown State University.

Until then, NIU (13-3) need only concentrate on its current NSC opponents.

“Our first conference match is against Akron which won the (NSC) tournament championship last year,” NIU head coach Pete Waite said. “So we’ve got our work cut out for us right away. Our goal of course is to make it to the tournament finals and then let things happen from there.”

The Huskies, 6-1 in league play last year, shared the NSC championship with DePaul, which is no longer a member of the NSC. Akron, however, upset the Huskies in three games during the NSC tournament and went on to win the tourney championship.

The last time NIU won the NSC tournament was in 1988 during Waite’s second year as head coach. Should the Huskies take the first place trophy this season, it will be a first for every player on the roster. One of the NIU “veterans”, junior Wendy Mason, finds that to be an advantage.

“It would be really nice to win the conference just because it’s our last year (in the NSC),” said Mason. “And since it would also be the first time any of us have won the tournament, we should really be up for it.”