Spikers don’t get out of the ‘blocks’

By Marc Wesner

One weekend can tell you a lot about yourself.

For the NIU women’s volleyball team, they found out just how much more improvement they need to make before they will be recognized as a national power.

The Huskies took on some of the best competition the state of Texas has to offer this weekend, but came up a little short. They played a total of three teams, but were only able to post a 1-2 ledger.

NIU started the weekend in College Station, Tx. to take on Texas A&M University. After a close, five game battle, the Huskies saw the match slip away, 8-15, 15-13, 10-15, 15-13. Neither team had the upper-hand for any length of time, yet TAMU was able to pull out the win in the end.

What went wrong?

It didn’t look like team defense was a problem. The Huskies out-dug the Lady Aggies 87-68. Six different players reached double digits in that category.

Shelby Snyder racked up 70 assists and the team actually out-killed A&M 80-77 so it wasn’t the offense either.

The difference, it would appear, was the blocking. TAMU was able to stuff the Huskie attack 35 times, but the NIU squad only shut the Lady Aggies down at the net 14 times.

Saturday night saw the Huskies taking on the University of Houston. This was the match the Huskies were to have an easy time of.

They didn’t.

The Huskies had another letdown, dropping a four game match to the Cougars 9-15, 15-9, 13-15, 11-15.

The opposing defenses matched up well (65 digs for the Huskies vs. 68 for UH) and the assists were close too (NIU: 56, Snyder had 47, UH: 59).

It was again the blocking that came up short.

Houston was able to redirect 32 Huskie kill attempts while NIU could only muster eight.

Do you see a pattern forming here?

The Huskies did and, like all great teams do, they did something about it.

They came out on Sunday to maul Sam Houston State on the blocks, 24-9 and won the match, 9-15, 15-7, 15-10, 10-15, 15-9.

The defense was excellent for the Huskies. The squad produced 99 digs which led to a tremendous transitional game leaving Snyder with 65 assists and the team with a .272 attack percentage.

The 1-2 weekend drops the Huskies season record to 16-4 and snaps a 12 game winning streak.