Despite the losses, road trip pumps up NIU volleyball team

By John Dietz

When a 19-2 volleyball squad returns from a road trip in which it went 2-3, the feeling would usually be one of disappointment.

However, the caliber of competition in the state of California is a bit more formidable than what the Huskies usually see.

“We came back with a lot of confidence,” said head coach Pete Waite. “We came back knowing we’re stronger than when we left … the three teams we lost to were definitely better teams than us. We have something new to strive for.”

After the massacre at Long Beach State, the Huskies won their first match of the California State University-Northridge Invitational last Friday.

In the second match against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the Huskies were once again up against some tough competition. The Mustangs (19-7) cruised through the first two games before NIU showed the crowd why the two teams belonged on the same court.

The Huskies won a dramatic 16-14 come-from-behind victory in the third game. The problem was that NIU needed to maintain an extremely high level of play to stay in the match.

Waite attributed the 15-9 loss in the fourth game to the intensity of play exhibited by their opponents.

“We weren’t able to maintain that level of play,” Waite said. “That was really the difference. Those teams are used to having to concentrate completely on every point.”

In the aftermath of the tournament, Kori Schauer and Amy Foulke were named to the all-tournament team. Nikki Kozak also had an all-tournament performance but was left off the list.

“It was a tossup between the three,” said Waite. “Nikki had a great tournament. … We saw Kori hit faster and harder than ever before.

“Amy played better than she had in the past month.”

This weekend marks the final time fans can catch the Huskies at home until they more than likely host the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament at the end of the month.

“The team is excited to get back home and play,” said Waite.