Senior star shines at NIU


Since moving to Illinois in 1990 and earning recognition as one of the top players in both the North Star and Mid-Continent Conferences, Becky Ramsey has proven herself to be one of the necessary ingredients in this year’s squad as the team attempts for the first time to win the NCAA women’s volleyball tournament.

Heading into this year Ramsey ranked third in service aces (126), sixth in digs (897), and tenth in kills (893) in overall career rankings at NIU, and had been named as one of the Mid-Continent Players of the Week.

Ramsey has racked up as many as 23 digs in a game (9-11-92 vs. Purdue), hit as high as .846 (10-2-93 vs. Wright State University) when she ecorded 11 digs in 13 attempts with no errors, and has picked up as many as 20 digs (11-5-91 vs. DePaul).

In 1990 she earned Second-Team All-North Star Conference honors and was voted as NIU’s co-Most Valuable Player.

All these great accomplishments from a native of California, which is known for its great volleyball talent, and one has to wonder: “What made such a talented freshman come to NIU, where they were coming off their worst season ever, 9-20, after going 22-8 the season before?”

“When I came over on the recruiting trip I just really wanted to play for a coach that I thought I could get along with really well, and Pete (Waite) was just what I was looking for in a coach and the team was extremely friendly, and I thought I would enjoy it out here,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey has enjoyed it with great years with NIU, going 26-8 in 1990, 27-9 in ‘91, and 33-6 with an undefeated conference season last year.

“I was hoping, just because there was so many freshman coming in together, and that was part of my reason for coming here too, so we could build a good program,” Ramsey said.

Having been around sports since birth, Ramsey was instilled with the determination and pride she has in herself and her teammates by her father Stephen who quarterbacked for the Denver Broncos from 1970 to 1976.

“He never really put a lot of pressure on me or was ever the type of dad to say, ‘You have to do this or that’; he was always really supportive and just helped me whenever he could.”

While she recognizes that much of her success comes from the support of her family, Ramsey realizes most of this wouldn’t have been possible without the teaching abilities of head coach Pete Waite.

“Pete has changed everything about my game. He helps me with passing and blocking and last year he really worked a lot with my arm strength.”

Every game is something special for Ramsey as her senior year of volleyball draws closer to the end, but the past three years on the team have given her something she never before felt.

“I feel probably the most confident that I have felt in a long time, and I think in this last year I’ve been playing like every game is one of my last,” Ramsey said.

With an NCAA career best described as ‘very enjoyable’, Ramsey will miss playing volleyball and would find it very hard to leave behind a sport that has made such a huge impact on her life.

“I’ve thought about coaching and it will be so hard to leave because it’s been a part of my life for so long,” said Ramsey.

With this year’s trip to Santa Barbara, Ramsey was able to not only return home to see family and friends but also compete against one-time teammates.

“It was great. I got to see my old club coach (Steve George) and a lot of the teams we played had players that I had played ith,” she said.

On Friday, Oct. 15, Ramsey will travel to Texas where she will meet up with Texas A&M, University of Houston, and Sam Houston State University.

“I know the University of Houston went to the NCAA tournament last year and Texas A&M went to the NIVC and I think both will be really good matches,” said Ramsey

With most of this year’s conference matches lasting only three games, Ramsey hopes to be at her best again when Illinois State University stops by on November 2.

“That will be a good game. We know a lot of girls on that team and that will be a great match to come watch at home,” Ramsey said.

As Ramsey expires her final year of eligibility in the NCAA here at NIU she will give the fans and her teammates a chance to see the very first women’s volleyball team go to the NCAA Championship and possibly first round action in the Chick Evans Field House.

In her absence will be a sadness, knowing one of Northern Illinois University’s greatest players is gone but the memories she provides will be cherished forever.

“Ifeel probably the most confident that I have felt in a long time, and I think in this last year I’ve been playing like every game is one of my last.”

Becky Ramsey

NIU volleyball player