NIU’s powerhouse rolls on


As the NIU’s women’s volleyball team gets set to close out the first half of the conference season, it will attempt to duplicate a feat performed last season when it not only won every conference match, but set a record 15 consecutive wins.

The Huskies will take the floor first on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. against Cleveland State University (3-12) and will get set to battle with the Vikings, who will be led by Kim Young and Kristen Hartung. The two combined own a .144 hitting percentage and 2.61 digs per game. The pair leads the team in almost every offensive and defensive category.

“Those are their two top returners coming in. They’ve been starters for a couple of years and they should be leading the attack for Cleveland,” head coach Pete Waite said.

In a rare afternoon match on Saturday at 2:00 p.m., NIU will square off against the Lady Penguins of Youngstown State, who having snapped a four match losing streak with wins over St. Francis and Robert Morris, are now 5-7 overall and 1-4 in conference.

A major factor in YSU’s five victories has been senior outside hitter Jen Windau. With 136 kills, a team leading .239 hitting clip, and 189 digs Windau seems to be the most well-rounded player on the team.

Surpassing these two teams in three games each shouldn’t be too much to ask, but Waite has it in the back of his mind that CSU is one of only two conference teams last year that put up a struggle before being laid to rest.

“Cleveland State and Western (Illinois) are the only teams that beat us in games last year,” Waite said. “We won the matches but they each beat us a game. We want to come in and play even harder and more focused than the last time we saw them.”

On Tuesday the Huskies will finish the first half of conference play as they take on Western Illinois in a match scheduled to begin a 7:00 p.m.

Although Western seems to be the most formidable of the opponents the Huskies will face in the next five days, they still seem to be no match for Waite’s squad.

With the Mid-Continent Conference’s Athlete of the Month for September, Kori Schauer, and four other seniors who Waite expects to all ‘step forward’, Waite is confident everything will work out in unraveling what is NIU’s season-long goal, making the NCAA tournament.

Schauer was garnered with Mid-Con Athlete of the Month honors for her efforts when she recorded 167 kills minus 55 errors in 347 attempts for a .323 hitting percentage to go along with her 63 digs, 37 block assists, 14 service aces, and 10 solo blocks.