History repeated: Wicinski MAC’s top player


By Abbe Barton

The sky is the limit for NIU volleyball.

Thursday evening, the Mid-American Conference announced its regular season awards with five Huskies honored.

Sophomore outside hitter Lauren Wicinski was named MAC Player of the Year for the second year in a row, becoming the first player in MAC history to earn Player of the Year in her first two seasons.

Two NIU players have earned the honor before her: Jenny Bowmanin 2001 and Kate McCullagh in 2006.

She has also achieved All-MAC status in each of her first two seasons after being named to the first team this year.

“It’s such a huge accomplishment. It’s hard to wrap my head around,” Wicinski said. “I’ve worked really hard and attended double practices and double workouts to get where I am. It’s really great to be winning with my teammates and this is a really great honor for Northern.”

Also honored Thursday was senior Kristin Hoffman, who brought home MAC Setter of the Year.

Hoffman is the first player in NIU history to receive the Setter of the Year award, leading the country in assists (12.31/set).

This is not the only award Hoffman received as she was named first team All-MAC for the second straight season.

“I couldn’t be in the spot that I am without the team,” Hoffman said. “All of the five awards we’ve received is a reflection of the team as a whole.”

Along with Wicinski and Hoffman, junior blocker Mary Kurisch was also awarded with first team honors. The three first team All-MAC members marks the most NIU has ever had as a part of the league.

“It’s really surprising and it feels great,” Kurisch said. “It means a lot and represents that all of our hard work paid off as a team. It’s just really exciting.”

Joining the list of award winners is senior outside hitter Allison McGlaughlin, who was named second team All-MAC.

Going into this weekend’s tournament McGlaughlin is sitting on a career-high .208 hitting percentage and ranks second on the team in points (3.17/set), kills (2.94/set), and digs (2.78/set).

“It was a goal of mine to play the best I could this season even if that meant getting an award or not,” McGlaughlin said. “Everything we’ve accomplished this year as a team is huge and I’m really proud of everyone.”

The fifth and final Huskie who received an award was sophomore middle blocker Sarah Angelos, who was also named second team All-MAC. She is currently ranked second in the MAC in hitting percentage (.363).

“For five players to be awarded, it’s huge for the program,” Angelos said. “It shows that we are the best team in the MAC and that we belong at the top and gives all of us a lot of confidence.”

With a total of five Huskies honored it was the most selections NIU has had and the most in the MAC since Ohio’s six selections in 2006.

This season for NIU volleyball has been one for the books as multiple records have been broken and success is in reach.

“The awards reflect of what we’ve just done and have been doing,” said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. “Now we’re at the sprint and we really just have to perform our best.”