5 minutes with… Volleyball’s seniors

By Rhema Rhea

Volleyball seniors Mackenzie Roddy and Emily Paschke will close out their NIU careers on the road after they played at Victor E. Court for the last time Saturday.

NIU went 21-9 overall and 14-2 in the MAC this season. The conference record is the exact same win and loss total the Huskies had when they made the NCAA Tournament first round in 2011, Paschke’s and Roddy’s freshman year. The conference totals also tie head coach Ray Gooden’s best record in his 13 seasons at NIU.

The Huskies are the No. 2 seed in the MAC Tournament and earned a bye into the semifinals. Their next match is 6:30 p.m. Sunday against either the No. 3 Miami (Ohio) RedHawks, the No. 6 Eastern Michigan Eagles or the No. 7 Kent State Golden Flashes.

During the regular season, the Huskies went 1-0 against the RedHawks, winning 3-2 Oct. 4 in Oxford, Ohio. They went 1-1 against the Eagles, winning 3-2 Oct. 10 in Ypsilanti, Mich., and losing 3-2 Saturday at Victor E. Court. Against the Golden Flashes, they went 1-0, winning 3-1 Oct. 24 in Kent, Ohio.

Northern Star: What were the emotions going into your last home match of your career?

Mackenzie Roddy: It’s obviously bittersweet. It’s sad to think it’s our last match here, but at the same time we know that there’s life outside of volleyball. It’s definitely bittersweet, but I think that the biggest emotion that we had was playing here one last time as a team and sharing these emotions with everybody around us and just appreciating it.

NS: This is the third 20-win season you guys have been a part of in your career. Which one is your favorite?

Emily Paschke: I think this one is probably my favorite because we got to be the leaders of the team this year as seniors, and it’s fun to go out on a high note.

Northern Star: In 2011 the team also went 14-2 in the MAC. Can you compare the differences between the two seasons?

MR: Both are good in their own sense, but I think that they are different — like the team dynamic is different in both those situations. Freshman year we were really successful; this year we were also really successful, but we played really well as a group. So, I think that has been something that has helped us all year long, being such a close-knit group.

NS: Going forward, how do you feel this young team will do?

EP: They’re going to be great next year; I know that for a fact. I think they will have a lot of girls who can be leaders no matter what their age is, so [I’m] looking forward to watching them.

NS: How has it been these past four seasons being teammates and becoming friends as well as roommates [with Emily]?

MR: It’s been awesome. There’s nothing better than getting to play the sport that you love with your best friend every day. It’s something that we really like doing. There’s no one else we’d rather share these experiences with. It’s always nice to know you have your friend right there.