Spikers set for WIU

By Hyun Moon

The result of a recent Illinois State match has the NIU volleyball team wondering what went wrong, but NIU does not have much time to ponder about the Sept. 26 massacre.

The Huskies square up against another Gateway Conference member, Western Illinois University, Wednesday at 7 o’clock. Then the Huskies face the Ball State Cardinals on Saturday at 3 p.m.

The Westerwinds have their best start ever, winning their first six matches before losing to Idaho State, which started the ‘Winds three game losing. However, the Westerwinds just started another three-game winning streak coming into Chick Evans Field House with a 10-4 record.

If the Westerwinds are anything like their Gateway-counterpart ISU, the Huskies better prepare for very high winds. NIU coach Pete Waite said that WIU is similar to the Redbirds.

“They’re a real tough team and we have to prepare for a very tough match and play a lot better match than we did against against ISU.”

Waite said it is hard to explain what happened to his team against ISU; he did say the Huskies played tight and the Redbirds were flying loose. The NIU players know that they are a lot better team than their 3-9 record indicates. Junior outside hitter Kari Niesen said, “(In the ISU match) we just got off to a bad start and never got into the flow of our game. We have played a very tough schedule in the beginning, but that will help us in our conference matches.”

Last year the Huskies were 9-8 before starting a 13 game winning streak that included the North Star Conference title.

“Last year we were struggling and I had no idea that we would start such a winning streak,” Waite said. “I didn’t have a clue; we were up and down the whole season, then we started to play well.”

So far, lack of concentration, lack of intensity, and inconsistency have plagued the Huskies and Waite said that it is a problem that the team will have to grow through. Playing at home this weekend should be some help.

Freshman outside hitter Wendy Mason said, “We’re excited about being home this weekend. We’re struggling and I hope that people will come out and support us.”

The Ball State match will be a special one for Waite as he goes up against his alma mater, coached by his former teammate at BSU Randy Litchfield.

“It will be a special match because of the fact that I’m a BSU alumnist and my old teammate is their coach,” Waite said. “But when it all comes down to it, it’s just a volleyball match against NIU and BSU, and it’s my job to see that NIU plays well.”

Following the game, the NIU men’s volleyball club will play a match in the fieldhouse.