Big Ten power invades DeKalb


The NIU women’s volleyball team is looking to get back on track after picking up their first loss of the season to the Colorado State Rams last Saturday.

The team standing in their way is Big Ten conference member, Wisconsin. And the Badgers won’t let the Huskies get a win easily.

Overall, Wisconsin leads in head-to-head meetings by a score of 16-3, a mark that this year’s Huskie squad wants to improve upon when the Badgers visit Chick Evans Field House at 7 p.m. Wednesday night.

“I think it’s going to be a great match,” said head coach Pete Waite. “We always have a real big rivalry with Wisconsin and the two teams match up real well. I’m expecting a real battle.”

It should be. After looking at game film from the Colorado loss, the team has a better outlook as to what went wrong and how to fix it.

“After practice last night, we just watched films,” said junior outside hitter/setter Joyce Book. “We saw a lot of things we did wrong in the Colorado State game … hopefully we’ll be able to correct that.

“Wisconsin’s going to be tough,” she continued. “We played them twice in the spring and we lost to them both times when we shouldn’t have. This will be kind of a revenge thing.”

In official meetings, the past two seasons have seen each team take a match on the other’s home floor. The 1991 campaign saw a five game match go in Wisconsin’s favor at Chick Evans while last season saw the Huskies win in three games on the University of Wisconsin campus.

The Badgers have five starters returning from a team that went 14-17 overall last season, with 9-11 conference mark good for 7th.

“Wisconsin’s rebuilding but has some great players on their team,” said Waite. “They’ve got some young players that are among the top recruits in the country. They are at a point were they are trying to work out their lineup to find out which setter they want to go with or if they go with two at the same time.”

One of those setters would be 5-foot-9-inch senior Kristin Sobocinski. Joining her efforts will be junior outside hitters Brigitte Lourey and Samantha Scott.

The decision on the setting situation will fall to second year head coach John Cook.

On the Huskie side of the net, Kori Schauer and Amy Foulke will rattle the floorboards with their thunderous attack. Feeding the ball to them will be NIU setting ace, Shelby Snyder.

In the backcourt, Nikki Kozak is in line to possibly break the all-time Huskie digs/career record. The magic number is down to 16, which is a pretty hefty number for one match, but she has a career high of 22 against Purdue on September 11, 1992 and is the last person in Huskie history to have 20 kills and 20 digs in a single match (9-29-90 vs. Eastern Illinois).

Looking beyond the Wisconsin match, the squad takes their show on the road to the University of California-Santa Barbara Classic this weekend. The Huskies hope to improve on their showing in this tournament last year.

“We’ll play some very good teams out in California,” said Book. “This weekend should decide a lot of things about (the season).”