Spiker’s time has arrived


With the conclusion of the regular season last weekend all but four teams have been laid to rest in the Mid-Continent Conference and by 4:00 p.m. Saturday, November 28th, one will stand alone.

While no other Huskie volleyball team has ventured into the realm of the NCAA tournament this year’s squad, led by five seniors, should finally get a chance.

Although four years ago head coach Pete Waite didn’t dream of producing a possible NCAA Tournament team, this year’s conference matches have become nothing more than a prerequisite in a Cinderella story. But, as the season ended and post season play begins, no other match seems more important than the one that awaits them this weekend.

While, during the regular season, victory seemingly came at will the Huskies are very much aware that they can not rely on their reputation alone as a means to meet their ends in the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament.

Throughout the regular season determination was rampant, yet many still believed the Huskies could win without being 100 percent.

Although this may have been true Waite knows as well as anyone that this is the time to concentrate on each and every game, even if the opposition was beaten earlier in the year by scores of 15-3 or 15-4.

It is no surprise to anyone the Huskies are currently ranked at the top in Mid-Con standings and are one of the best squads in the entire Midwest Region, yet the Huskies, along with Waite, hold the philosophy that anything can happen on any given day.

However unlikely, a Huskie loss remains a possibility. And although the Huskies thoroughly dominated each and every Mid-Con opponent, not to mention some non-conference foes, NIU will look no further than the game at hand.

In what will seemingly look like an opening act for Waite’s crew based on regular season performances, the Lady Panthers of Eastern Illinois (17-16, 12-6) will square off against the Raiders of Wright State (21-11, 14-4) in a match scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m.

Junior middleblocker Sherri Piwowarczyk of EIU has already registered 206 kills and 140 digs while lending a helping hand in her team’s struggle to win the Mid-Con Tourney and automatic NCAA Tourney berth.

On the flipside of the court will be the dominant Jenny Moore of WSU who has slammed down 385 balls in her opponents’ faces en route to a team leading .344 attack percentage. While on her journey she has also recorded 140 digs.

In a match slated for a 7 p.m. start, the Huskies (27-4, 18-0) will host a team they have dominated in every aspect thus far this season the Lady Crusaders of Valparaiso (16-15, 11-7).

While the Crusaders have averaged over 51 kills and 61 digs per match against all other opponents, the Huskies have held them to only 20 kills and 35 digs per match on average.

While an 11-7 Mid-Con record looks respectable when two automatic losses to the Huskies are factored in to everyone’s record, the Lady Crusaders will still have a tough time Friday just trying to earn more kills than errors.

In this year’s two previous matches involving these two teams the Crusaders were held to a .029 hitting clip while they fared extremely better in the rest of their matches.

Although the Huskies know in their heart what they will be doing Saturday, they will keep focused in their minds what they need to do Friday. And while the Huskies are presently at the top, anyone can fall, but Waite and his Huskies are prepared to keep climbing and to reach their goal of earning an NCAA berth.