Spikers look to extend Mid-Con streak


NIU’s volleyball squad (8-2, 2-0) brings conference action to Chick Evans Field House this weekend when they play host to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (8-5, 2-0) at 7:00 p.m. on Friday and finish up on Saturday against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (4-7, 1-1) also at 7:00 p.m.

With the absence of their 6’1″ outside hitter, Marie Kaland, UWGB has lost the chance for a more productive season for second year head coach Cindy Brauck.

After breaking her leg in an accident this summer and limiting her playing time this fall, Brauck has depended on senior Paula Glodowski to help give her team a winning edge.

Although Green Bay is in a year of transformation, the Huskies know they need to keep their level of competition high to control the entire match.

“I think it’s really our challenge to play our good high level of volleyball and really just control it,” said Waite.

Arriving at the Chick Evans Field House on Saturday will be the Panthers of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

With first year head coach Kathy Cunningham at the helm and a season which can best be described as a rebuilding year, the Panthers are ready to put it all on the line against NIU.

Kathy Cunningham, an ex-Notre Dame volleyball player and previous assistant at both the University of Wisconsin and Illinois, has made some changes in her team which are now just starting to show up on the court.

“Because both these teams are in the lower half of the conference, and the fact that they rebuilding, makes them dangerous because they are really working hard to rebuild their games,” said Waite.

Linda Granger seems to be the strong point for Milwaukee as she is doing it all on both offense and defense, registering 95 digs and 86 kills minus 48 errors in 274 attempts. Kristin Jahnke will be another player to keep an eye on. Jahnke has 93 kills and 90 digs.

While the more competitive match will probably be against Green Bay, NIU is not sure what to expect against Milwaukee since they haven’t seen them in a couple of years.

“Milwaukee is the kind of team that we don’t know as well, but basically we have enough strength that we can just take our game to them,” said Waite.

NIU is looking to Kori Schauer (4.33 kills per game) and Shelby Snyder (12.72 assists per game) to lead the mighty offense and Nikki Kozak (3.56 digs per game) to lead the defense.

Both Schauer and Snyder lead the conference in their respective categories while Kozak, fourth in conference in average digs, was given honorable mention last week in the Rawlings/Mid-Continent Conference Player of the Week Award.

When NIU meets these two teams this weekend they expect the level of competition to be similar to last week’s matches in which they crushed the University of Illinois-Chicago and ran through Valporaiso University in straight games.

“They will be real similar. I think overall our team has better ball control and more depth, and that’s just really hard to stand up to,” said Waite.