NIU takes 5-1 NSC record to conference foe DePaul

By Bob Regan

Things will not be easy for NIU volleyball coach Pete Waite and his team this weekend.

The second-year coach contends with fellow North Star Conference member DePaul at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Alumni Hall. The match against the Blue Demons airs on SportsVision by tape delay Sunday (Nov. 6) at 3 p.m. On Saturday, the Huskies return to the friendly surroundings of DeKalb for a 5 p.m. contest with Butler University at Chick Evans Field House.

DePaul graced the top of the NSC last week, but two losses by the Blue Demons and five straight wins by the Huskies have enabled NIU to share the top spot in the conference with Illinois-Chicago. DePaul coach Anna Marassa and her squad carry a 15-18 overall record into Friday night’s game, while the team’s NSC record idles at 3-3 following a loss to Illinois-Chicago.

The Huskies have been impressive in the conference this season. A 5-1 record can attest to that, while the team’s overall record of 14-8 gives more support. NIU’s only miscue in the NSC was a 12-15, 15-10, 16-14, 15-8 loss to a tough Illinois-Chicago team.

The Huskies will look to senior Cathy Holmes to continue her domination. Holmes boasts a .399 hitting percentage and 1.85 blocks-per-game average. Her hitting percentage and bpg. average rank her nationally. The 6-foot-1 middle blocker also leads the team with 296 kills, 46 solo blocks and 100 block assists. Holmes received her fourth NSC Player of the Week award on Oct. 24.

Other Huskie standouts are sophomore Julie Kreiling and senior Beth Glisk. Kreiling, a 5-foot-10 outside hitter, raised her hitting percentage to .181 with last week’s three-match showing. Glisk continues to lead the Huskies with 9.82 assists-per-game and 2.65 digs-per-game.

Coach Waite looks for a solution to top performance this weekend, and he thinks he knows what the answer might be.

“The key will be having the attitude ‘we can win’ when we step onto the court. We’re still striving for that, but we’re getting to believe we can play any team,” Waite said. “I think we have a more experienced team, but they (DePaul) are in a similar situation with a young coach.

Saturday’s game against Butler will be the toughest of the two. The Bulldogs have a 21-5 overall slate and a 4-0 ledger in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference.

“Butler is going to be a tough team, and it would be good to beat a tough team. They’ve got an excellent team this year, and it will be nice to be back home when we face them,” Waite said.

The series between the Huskies and the Bulldogs is split at 1-1 with this year’s match giving one of the teams bragging rights. In 1987, Butler finished the season at 16-15 and won their conference with a 3-0 record. Butler coach Jona Braden returns 10 letterwinners, while losing only one player to graduation.

NIU’s final regular season game prior to the NSC tournament will be at Chicago against the Loyola Ramblers.