Volleyball team heads to Butler tourney

By Kari Brackett

For the third consecutive weekend, the NIU volleyball team will compete in a tournament.

This time the Huskies will play in the Butler University Tournament tonight and Saturday in Indianapolis, Ind.

Coach Herb Summers said he hopes his team’s play is better than last weekend’s performance at its own Huskie Invitational, in which NIU placed third out of four teams.

“The team was disappointed and shocked over last week,” Summers said. “We really expected to win and I really don’t know what happened.”

The squads competing against NIU this weekend include Akron, Butler, DePaul, Ohio and Temple. Both DePaul and Butler are known to be competitive, Summers said, but he is not sure about the others.

“I think it is a tournament we’re capable of winning,” Summers said. “It is up to us to play with a high level of intensity.”

The Huskies might have that high level of intensity needed to win the tournament. NIU is entering the tourney after defeating the Marquette Warriors Tuesday night. Even though Summers admits the Warriors were not a strong team, he said the win does help team morale.

“I have realized that teams don’t improve steadily,” Summers said. “It goes up and down. For every two steps forward, you move one back. Hopefully, last week was our step back.”

Summers does have one worry right now and she is Anita Kesteris. The 5-foot-10 outside hitter sprained her ankle in a scrimmage practice Monday. Summers said Kesteris was walking Wednesday, but she did not practice. He said he hopes the sophomore can play because she is needed on the left side for bench strength.

Going into the action, NIU’s hitting percentage ranks sixth in the nation. The Huskies have tallied 353 kills on 976 attempts for a .211 kill percentage. The squad also averages 12.61 kills per game.

The team leader in kill percentage is Cathy Holmes. Holmes, a 6-foot-1 middle blocker, has accumulated 83 kills on 201 set-ups for a kill percentage of .323. Holmes also leads the team with 13 solo blocks.

Setter Beth Glisk leads team digs with 84, followed by Anne Polaski’s 76.