Young Huskies spike Warriors

By Jennifer Hutchins

It was three up, three down in NIU’s home-opening volleyball matchup vs. Marquette University, Tuesday night. Before the Marquettte Warriors knew what hit them, the Huskies were dominating the court with their quick-thinking offense and scrappy defense.

With a starting lineup that included only one senior and five freshmen, it was quite an opener to the home season.

The Huskies swept the Warriors (15-6, 15-9, 15-6) before Marquette even had a chance to get their offense off the ground. The domination began in the first game with a double block by Becky Ramsey (Fr.) and Amy Foulke (Fr.) who made a powerful combination at the net throughout the night. They rounded out the night with six block assists each.

NIU’s offensive attack was led by the versatile Shauna Campbell, also a freshman, who delivered 41 assists to a group of power-hungry hitters. The 6-3 freshman, Kori Schauer was the most noticeable presence with 15 kills.

“Kory can be a dominating force.” head coach Pete Waite said. “We try to play her against their shorter blockers to get the most out of her playing ability. At 6-3 she’s very intimidating to the other team as well.”

Kory’s performance was followed respectively by Kari Neison, who came off the bench, and Ramsey who each added an impressive eight kills to the team total.

The Huskies’ only lull in action came at the start of the second game when they allowed the Warriors a six-point lead with a score of 7-1. But senior Kari Neison wasn’t worried.

“We just had a mental breakdown,” Neison said. “We had to concentrate more on what we were doing on this side of the court and not on the other side of the net.”

Even with the momemtary loss of concentration during the second game, Coach Waite was proud of the group’s performance.

“We really came out strong,” Waite said. “This is a group who really gets fired up about playing. Even with the big swings like the start of the second game, we came back. It takes a lot of poise to make such a big comeback.”

It was sweet revenge for Coach Waite as well. Last season, the Wildcats defeated NIU in their own three-game sweep.

“Looking at last year’s loss to Marquette really shows the progress of the the program this season.” Waite said.

Judging from the Huskies performance, they also appear to be a very well-rounded team. They ended the match against Marquette University with 44 kills and a .235 hitting percentage, 10 total team blocks, 33 digs, and 42 assists.

Age doesn’t even seem to make a difference

“Whoever can do the job is out there” senior Julie Kreling-Zinke said. “It’s really different having so many Freshman out there but they all have a lot of experience playing on ballclubs.”

The Huskies now face tough competition this weekend with road trips to Butler University on Friday and a tournament at Ball State University on Saturday. The team will then return home Sept. 11 for a four-match homestand against Bradley University.