Volleyball ends regular season on the road

By Ben Gross

The NIU volleyball team will hit the road to finish off the 2005 regular season. NIU will face Akron (10-18, 4-11 MAC) tonight as it tries to secure a home game for the first round of the MAC tournament.

The Huskies (13-16, 5-9) broke a five game in-conference losing streak Saturday night as they swept Miami-Ohio.

The Huskies played some of their best volleyball of the season during the game and hope to carry the momentum from last weekend to the road.

“Saturday was a big win because we’ve been losing the past few matches,” defensive specialist Marie Zidek said. “[The win] made practice more intense this week because there’s hope and belief that we can win these two matches and do well in the tournament.”

Before the Huskies can worry about doing well in the MAC tournament, though, they have to finish the regular season, starting tonight as they face a Zips’ team full of energy.

“The MAC is so close right now, it’s not like there’s a bottom and a top,” outside hitter Amy Ward said. “There’s a lot of teams in the middle, and we have to fight for every position.”

The Huskies are fighting for a position because NIU would be the No. 8 seed if the tournament began today; NIU would host no. 9 Kent State Tuesday night.

Head coach Ray Gooden hopes the team can be successful this weekend to bring the tournament back to NIU for next week.

“It would be a great thing for the girls,” Gooden said. “We [have] to do anything we can do to put ourselves in that situation.”

In order for the team to put themselves in that situation, they will have to play consistent volleyball – a goal the team has been striving for the entire year.

“I just think that everyone needs to be consistent,” said Zidek, a senior. “That starts with serving and ends with hitting. We’ve got to start the points and ends the points.”