Rams charge past Huskies, win tourney

By Marc Wesner

Volleyball is a game built on momentum and emotion. A point scored here or missed there could mean the difference between a win or a loss.

Through the first two matches against Northwestern and Kansas, the NIU squad looked close to unbeatable. The momentum and the emotion both leaned heavily in the Huskie’s corner. Only NU was able to steal a game from the Northern squad, and that could be credited to first game jitters.

The third match pitted the unbeaten Huskies (2-0) against the Colorado State Rams (3-0). The momentum shifted, and the Rams were able to claim the Huskie Invitational crown.

Friday night saw the Huskies pound the Northwestern Wildcats 10-15, 15-8, 15-3, 15-10. After watching the ‘Cats swipe the first game from a tight and unspirited NIU squad, the Huskies returned the favor, not once but three times.

After the third game gave the Huskies a 2-1 advantage, it was clear who was in control of this match. The only mystery remaining was by how much they would win by.

“It was a good first win for us,” commented head coach Pete Waite. “After the first game (.104 hitting percentage, 9 hitting errors), it was a great match.”

The final stats for the match were impressive. Kori Schauer led the way with 21 kills while adding four block assists as well a one solo stuff. Becky Ramsey and Amy Foulke also reached double digits in kills with 12 and 10 respectively. Shelby Snyder added her talents to the attack by dishing out 53 assists for her teammates.

Defensively, Northern came up with 72 digs, outpacing NU by 19. Snyder led the team with 17, Joyce Book had 13, Ramsey had 12 and Nikki Kozak added 10 more.

Saturday it was more of the same as Kansas (1-2) stepped up on the sacrificial block known as the Huskies home floor.

The Huskies never even let Kansas entertain the thought of a win in this one. The Jayhawks limped out of Chick Evans Fieldhouse to the tune of a 15-7, 15-2, 15-8 thumping.

Once again it was Schauer who topped the kill chart with 15. Nikki Kozak finished with 12 put-aways while adding 15 digs. Snyder contributed 39 assists.

And then there were two.

Colorado State came into the match having survived a first round near-upset from Kansas. The Rams dropped the first two games 15-6, 15-10, but rallied 16-14, 15-11, 16-14 in the next three to send the Jayhawks packing.

That may have been a factor in their 15-10, 15-11, 15-12 victory over the Huskies. Remember momentum and emotion.

“Colorado State played great ball in the final match,” said Waite. “They didn’t have any kind of let down and were swinging with confidence against us … the difference was mental errors (.112 hitting percentage for the match). We gave up some easy points off unforced errors.”

Schauer (18 kills, 10 hitting errors, .190 hitting percentage), Kozak (12, 10, .056) and Ramsey (11, 5, .240) benefited from 46 Snyder assists.

On another note, Kozak came up with 39 digs during the three matches, making her just 16 digs away from the 1,100 posted by Anne Polaski from 1984-87; tops in the Huskie Record book.

That record could be broken Wednesday night when the University of Wisconsin visits DeKalb.