NIU Women push ledger above .500 mark

By Brian Wiencek

Accolades, accolades, accolades.

Success continues to reign for the NIU volleyball team.

Construction plods on for new offices at Chick Evans Field House, but Pete Waite’s crew had a chance to finally soak up what was a prosperous year.

Finishing 16-0 in Mid-Continent Conference action, NIU went on to the National Invitational Volleyball Championship semifinals, eventually losing to tourney champ Washington State and ending its 1992 campaign at 33-6.

Not before a few awards were earned locally, conference-affiliated, and regionally.

Coach Waite earned his first Mid-Continent Conference Coach of the Year award. This is a long time waiting considering he has led four 22-plus win seasons in the last five.

For the first time since Cathy Holmes in 1988, a Huskie garnered the prestigious Mideast Region Most Valuable Player.

No. 9, Wendy Mason, the senior out of Lyons, Colo. received that award to go with the Mid-Con MVP. And, to complete the circle at the annual postseason banquet, she was voted by her teammates as the team MVP for the second year in a row.

“Wendy really came on in the NIVC, she was unbelievable,” boasted Waite. “She came into this program as a wallflower, but bloomed into a fantastic player.”

While Mason received ‘top-dog’ honors, other Huskies enjoyed individual success from teammate balloting.

For Inspiration, Guts, Hardwork, and Teamwork, Nikki Kozak earned the Huskie F.I.G.H.T award. Kozak had offseason shoulder surgery before she suffered an ankle injury early in the season but continued to play.

And after redshirting in 1991, freshman Holly Bauer was voted the Most Improved Player for the second straight year.

‘Other notable Huskie accomplishments: junior Kori Schauer ended 16th in the nation in hitting percentage; the Huskies finished 20th overall. Sophomore setter Shelby Snyder is now the all-time Huskie assist leader and is on a pace to threaten the all-time NCAA mark.