Waite: practice makes program

By Hyun Moon

“Hard working” could be a label for most of the NIU athletic teams, and the NIU volleyball team has shown the willingness and dedication to become a successful program.

A standard three-hour practice doesn’t appeal to anyone, but the NIU team almost seems to enjoy it. Under the careful supervision of second-year head coach Pete Waite, who recorded the third-best NIU season record (22-8) last year, the Huskies are going through their daily practices with the intention of capturing their second consecutive North Star Conference championship.

Maybe it is more logical for a football team to practice for so long since there are so many things to perfect. But hitting a little white ball over an over-sized tennis net shouldn’t be so hard, right? That’s not the way Waite sees it as he puts his team through various drills that include all the phases of the game, such as passing, setting, and hitting.

All the drills work on the consistency of the players, including three freshmen—Amber Kimmel, Wendy Mason, and Andrea Baker. Freshman Kori Schauer is out for the season after arthroscopic knee surgery.

“(College athletics) is a lot different from my small high school. The players are much better and everyone wants to play,” Baker said.

There are also two sophomores—Wendy Bonnette and Jennifer Yahn—and two juniors—Karie Niesen and Julie Kreiling. The seniors on the team include Anita Kesteris, Jamie Steenblock, Laura Peterson, and Alice McAvoy.

Steenblock said 1989’s practices are not much different from last year’s practices. The practices have remained just as grueling, long and repetitive to develop the consistency of the players.

Individual play is emphasized by Waite in practice. He said, “Good individual play leads to good team play. Each person has to master their skills for it to come together.”

The Huskies, so far, have not been overly impressive. Their record surely will not impress many people right now, but lack of hard work certainly cannot be the cause.

Waite is a Ball State alumni, who starred for the nationally ranked Cardinal men’s volleyball team. BSU finished fourth in the national tournament in 1979.

Assistant coach Lori Sowatsky provides an example for the young Huskies with her abilities and attitude. She practices with the team and is able to teach the squad through example. Sowatsky played for Drake University for four years (1980-1984), being captain her senior year. She then moved on to international competition in West Germany.

Waite said he is determined to have a successful year in the North Star Conference. “The girls want to be good and we’re not going to let up,” he said.