NIU Volleyball deserves attention

By Chris Dertz

The number of columns that I’ve written during my time at this newspaper asking the student body to pay attention to sports other than football has to be astronomical.

I don’t want to preach at you anymore than you don’t want to hear me talk at you about what you should be spending your valuable time doing. It would take quite a bit to make me go through that one more time.

That said, I really hope everybody is paying attention to what the volleyball team here at NIU is doing.

“Blah, blah, blah, there’s a program that’s not football that’s doing well.” I can imagine everyone saying those exact words, but this isn’t a program that’s just doing well.

This is a program that is doing great things, and has shown no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

They started the season 11-0, the best start ever for NIU volleyball. They are currently 13-1, and just swept Iowa, who happens to be in a little conference called the Big Ten.

About 1,000 people were drawn to the Huskies’ match against Wisconsin last week, so it looks like people are starting to take notice. I hope that they realize the magnitude of what seems to be happening here.

Volleyball was the first beat I ever covered for the Star, and I regret that I haven’t been able to get out to a match yet this season. There’s no question that I’ll be there on Friday night when they open up MAC play against Ball State. Numbers are all well and good, but I will withhold any further judgment until I actually see this team in action. All the early signs are pointing toward head coach Ray Gooden having something special in his hands right now, though.

I hope the other NIU programs are paying attention, too. We have a long history of talking about the attendance woes at NIU sporting events, football included.

The 1,000 people that showed up at Victor E. Court to watch NIU take on Wisconsin should serve as a sobering reminder to all the teams that struggle to get people in the stands. You can create all the marketing campaigns and all the promotions that you want: in the end, fans aren’t going to come out to watch a team that’s not capable of winning on a consistent basis.

The volleyball team is serving as the perfect example: people want to see a winner. If you win, they will come.