Kozak digs as Huskies roll


If you weren’t one of the 445 people that saw the NIU women’s volleyball team clean the Chick Evans Fieldhouse floor with the University of Wisconsin, you missed quite a show.

The Huskies rocked the Badgers, shutting down the oppositions attack (30 kills in 111 attempts, a .117 attack percentage), while swinging away with deadly accuracy (59 for 115; .348).

The end result, Huskies post an easy 15-3, 15-7, 15-8 non-conference win over their Big Ten rivals.

The attack came from all sides. Shelby Snyder was masterful, picking up 49 assists while running the offense to perfection. Her efforts enabled three different Huskies to reach double digits in the kill column.

Kori Schauer, this weeks Mid-Continent Conference Player of the Week, awed the crowd with some tremendous hits. She finished with 17 kills against only 3 errors for a .467 attack percentage.

Becky Ramsey also had a great night, 15 kills on only 26 attempts for a .385 hitting clip. She continually pounded the ball around, over and through the opposition’s block.

But the player of the night was Nikki Kozak. Not only did Kozak register 15 kills, but the 16 digs she produced made her the number one passer in Northern Illinois history. Kozak now sports 1,101 digs putting her one dig ahead of Anne Polaski who played at NIU from 1984-87.

For most of the match, it looked like the “old” record would hold up until the Huskies travel to California this weekend. Kozak only had seven digs going into the final game, but turned it on in the last round and now holds a place in NIU athletic history.

The first game of the match set the tone for the rest of the evening, and probably made Wisconsin wish they had never even heard of DeKalb. Northern grabbed a 5-3 early lead and gave the service to Amy Foulke. Nine plays later, the scoreboard showed NIU up by a 13-3 count. For the game, the team hit at a .500 clip while Wisconsin was held to just .179.

Wisconsin seemed to crumble during those nine plays and they never seemed to regain their composure.

The barrage continued through the second game as NIU pulled away from the Badgers. The Huskies dropped to a .214 hitting percentage but were able to hold the Badgers to a .000, yes a .000 attack percentage.

The third game was more of the same as the Huskies peppered the floor on the other side of the net. The defense was excellent too, producing 26 digs, including Kozak’s nine, to pace on to victory.

“It was a great match on our side of the net, I think we just dominated the whole thing,” said head coach Pete Waite. “We just came out loose and ready to play. We did what we usually do best which is outscrap the other team by keeping balls in play.”

All told, the Huskie squad finished with 55 digs and 59 kills, outdistancing Wisconsin who was only able to put together 29 digs while only 30 of their plays ran with success.

The match served as good warm-up for the University of California Santa-Barbara Classic which the Huskies will attend this weekend.