Fast start produces talk about postseason play

By Steve Dennis

Look for talk about postseason play to start surfacing around the NIU volleyball team—if it hasn’t already begun.

With the sweeping victories over North Star Conference foes Akron (15-3, 15-2, 16-14) and Cleveland State (15-7, 15-0, 15-7) over the weekend, the NIU spikers have increased their season ledger to 15-3 and started the conference off in an undefeated manner.

“You can’t beat two, three-game sweeps,” NIU coach Pete Waite said, “especially when one of the matches was against Akron, last year’s conference tournament champion.”

Ironically, NIU swept the Zips last year in the regular season meeting, but when the NSC tournament rolled around, it was Akron that defeated the Huskies en route to the tournament crown.

“(The win) over Akron is kind of deceiving,” Waite said.

A victory in the NSC tournament equals an automatic bid to the Women’s Intercollegiate Volleyball Conference Tournament—volleyball’s version of the women’s NWIT Tournament in basketball.

Which is exactly the Huskies’ primary goal. But Waite downplays the idea that NIU is looking too far ahead.

“I hope the players aren’t talking about it,” Waite said. “I always tell them to keep improving in practice and things will fall into place.

“We’ve started strong, but we still need to increase our level of play to play strong in the tournament.” Whichever tournament that might be.