NIU spikers glide by weak Phoenix crew

By Kari Brackett

NIU’s volleyball team increased its win total Friday night by defeating the Fighting Phoenix of Wisconsin-Green Bay 7-15, 15-3, 15-6, 15-8.

“They play a different kind of volleyball,” outside hitter Amy Garrett said. “They play high school volleyball.”

Even though the Phoenix did not offer much competition, the Huskies did not come out ready to play in the first game. A combination of Green Bay’s inept play, NIU’s superior skills and poor referee calls contributed to the demise of the Huskies.

NIU coach Herb Summers said his team could not do anything right in the first game, but he was pleased the Huskies were strong enough to collect their thoughts and play like they know how.

“We were not ready to play,” sophomore Jamie Steenblock said. “It took us a while to get into our game. Once we got going it was fun to play.”

“The referees made some bad calls for us, which was disappointing for the team,” Garrett said. “They did not seem to know volleyball.”

Once NIU rid itself of its poor play, the Huskies took charge of the match and never looked back.

“We had problems executing all night,” Summers said. “It was good we settled down after a bad first match.”

Garrett said she thought the squad did well in both its defensive game and hitting attack.

“We just kept going after them with hits,” Garrett said. “We would put it away and they could not return it.”

Summers said his team basically needs to work on things it has worked on for the past few weeks. Included on the list is passing.

“Our serve reception is something we always need to work on,” Summers said.

NIU (11-9) leaves “high school” volleyball for a much more competitive match on Wednesday and will take on the Iowa Hawkeyes at Iowa City. In the 10 times NIU has met with the Big Ten school, the Huskies have won five matches.

“The team is real excited to play Iowa,” Steenblock said. “It is great to play good teams.”

“Actually it (Green Bay‘s match) helped us prepare for Iowa,” Garrett said. “The win gives us confidence. If we defeat Iowa, it will say a lot for our team.”