Spikers whip first two NSC foes

By Jeff Steffen

The NIU volleyball team opened up the North Star Conference schedule Friday with an impressive three-game sweep over the visiting Akron Zips 15-3, 15-2, 16-14.

The Huskies hadn’t played a game in almost two weeks, but they didn’t show any signs of rust from the inactivity.

“I think the layoff helps rest the players,” said NIU head volleyball coach Pete Waite. “It makes them more eager to play the next game.”

Eager is right. The Huskies jumped out to an 11-2 lead in the first game and coasted from there. Game two mirrored the first as NIU took a 7-0 lead and never looked back.

“I’m not surprised at how we dominated the first two games,” Waite said. “This team definitely has the potential to do that.”

The third game wasn’t quite as easy. Akron had leads of 5-3 and 9-6 and fought off all the Huskies early surges. Keyed by the serves of Becky Ramsey, the Huskies managed to claw their way back to a 14-14 tie off en route to the win.

“That third game was a great comeback for us,” Waite said. “The third game showed the real Akron team. Last year they won the conference tournament. Akron is definitely one of the top four teams in the conference.”

The big hitters for NIU on Friday were Wendy Mason (10 kills), Amy Foulke and Kori Schauer (eight kills a piece), and Ramsey (seven kills). Setter Shelby Snyder had 27 assists for NIU.

Waite said the main thing the Huskies have to work on is their consistency.

“We need to be more consistent and play all of our games the way we played the first two,” said Waite.