Snyder ready for unforgettable season


When it comes right down to it, the game winning spike is what everybody remembers. The pass to the setter as well as the set itself are often forgotten before the ball even hits the ground.

For those who aren’t well versed in the finer points of volleyball, the setter is much like the quarterback in football. The action centers around them as they decide whom to deliver the ball to. Unlike a quarterback however, the setter is often less publicized than their spiking teammates.

For two years now, Shelby Snyder has “quarterbacked” the NIU volleyball team to consecutive conference titles; one North Star and one Mid-Continent. Twice she has helped her team earn a berth to the National Invitational Volleyball Championships. The team reached the semifinals last season.

In the process of all this she has already broken so many individual single season and career records at NIU that she’ll have to begin breaking her own marks because she’s running out of records to break.

When Shelby hit campus three years ago, she already had quite a bit of experience behind her. First, she is an accomplished athlete earning six letters in three different sports at Fountain Valley High in her home state of California. Add in the five years she spent playing with the Pacific Coast Club, competing in the Davis National Tourney in all five of those seasons and you begin to see why head coach Pete Waite recruited her.

For her part, she came to NIU not only because of the winning attitude, but she wanted to surround herself with people who played for the sheer enjoyment of the game. She hasn’t regretted her choice.

“When I visited here the team seemed so close,” Snyder recounted. “Watching them play and practice, they just seemed to have so much fun. They weren’t just good but they were enjoying themselves.”

This team is very much in command of their future. Last year saw them rack up a perfect 16-0 ledger in the Mid-Continent Conference and, barring any unforeseen tragedies, they should put up similar numbers this year.

“A lot is expected of us, and we really want to deliver,” she said. “It’s hard when everyone has high expectations, but we have high expectations too.”

Most center around the Mid-Con crown. When, not if, they lock up the top spot in the conference, they automatically earn a berth in the NCAA tournament, a goal Snyder believes is well within reach.

“What our hearts are really set for is to make the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA,” she responded when asked about her expectations of the team. “Our first goal is winning conference and getting a bid. Once we get the bid we don’t just want to make a showing there, we want people to know who we are.”

With the direction the team is headed, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Even for a setter.