Coach Gooden expresses importance of defending home court


Head Coach Ray Gooden talks to his team during the Saturday match against SIUE.

By Justin Kelley

DeKALB — During his time at NIU, Volleyball Head Coach Ray Gooden has embraced the importance of defending home court.

“The expectations are always the same for us; we have to defend home court.” Gooden said.

Since 2005, Gooden’s squads have been successful at home, winning 133 games in that stretch. NIU will host Fairleigh Dickinson University, Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville and University of California – Riverside. 

The Huskies look to carry that home success into this season as they host the NIU Invitational over the weekend.

The four teams are coming off different 2018 records. NIU is coming off a 11-21 record, Fairleigh Dickinson off a record of 2-28, SIU off a record of 9-20 while Riverside is coming off a 9-19 record last season.

Gooden went into depth on what the focus will be at the NIU Invitational.

“We have been trying to understand the game more and [have]the players take the information and learn from it.” Gooden said.

In last season’s NIU Invitational,  the Huskies hosted DePaul University, Xavier University and University of Oklahoma. The Huskies lost all three matches.

The Huskies kick off the invitational with a match noon Friday in the Convocation Center against Fairleigh Dickinson. 

NIU will play again at 7 p.m. against SIUE in the final match of the night.

The Huskies finish off the invitational against UC Riverside 1 p.m. Saturday at the Convocation Center. ­­