Off-weekend no reason to hit panic button


The NIU women’s volleyball team did something they weren’t used to doing last weekend. They lost two out of three matches.

That doesn’t happen very often.

The last time the Huskies lost two in one weekend, was almost a year ago when the squad traveled to California for the Cal State-Northridge Invitational.

It’s not likely to happen again.

Any team can have a bad day, and the Huskies are no exception. They showed they were human after all.

Unfortunately, they were up against Texas A&M (19-4), Houston State (6-12) and Sam Houston State (14-4), the best out-of-state competition they’ll meet until the NCAA tournament in December.

“Basically, we knew we’d be going up against some great teams,” said head coach Pete Waite. “Unfortunately, we had some players that were not on their game at the time when we needed everybody to win all three.”

A good illustration is Kori Schauer and Becky Ramsey. Both are seniors and both are leaders on the court.

In the two losses, the pair combined for only 37 kills with 22 errors on 119 attempts, a .126 attack percentage.

The rest of the team had their problems too. They hit only .130 against A&M while marginally improving to .169 against Houston. Only Danielle Gerenz was able to hit over a .200 clip in those two matches.

What was impressive, however, was the way the Huskies bounced back to salvage the third match against Sam Houston State.

The hitting percentage jumped to .272 and the team looked like the same dominating force that is such a familiar sight to Mid-Continent Conference foes.

Ramsey still struggled but Schauer came back to life, hitting .444 for the match and 13 kills.

Waite was also impressed with the poise his bench showed when the starters weren’t getting the job done.

“I saw some great things from the people that came off the bench to help out,” he said.

Those in particular were Tammy Campbell, Joyce Book, Amy Vander Meer and Dana Romans.

Campbell and Book filled in for the struggling seniors, and were both singled out by the coach for their efforts.

“Tammy came in and did a great job,” Waite said. “Joyce played in Becky’s position which is actually a different spot than she’s been playing lately.”

Romans and Vander Meer also came on in the third match to help pick up the offense.

Romans hit .309, good for 17 kills and recorded 15 digs against SHSU.

Vander Meer had only one kill, but as a back row specialist, she was in for ball control.

“She played better then we’ve seen in quite a while and really helped the team (defensively),” Waite said.

Overall, the weekend will help the club down the road. The team got a taste of better competition than they are used to.

Texas A&M’s screaming fans also let them get used to pressure on the road.

Both of these factors will help when the NCAA Tourney rolls around. No matter what else happens outside the conference, NIU will be represented there.