NIU’s Baker, Mason shine on their night

By John Dietz

Thanks for the memories.

That was the message the NIU volleyball team and its fans gave two seniors who will not be returning to Chick Evans Field House for another regular season match.

Wendy Mason and Andrea Baker have both spent four years here at NIU and were both part of head coach Pete Waite’s first recruiting class.

Mason was awarded with Most Valuable Player honors in 1991 and continues to blow away opponents with her devastating spike.

After Friday night’s match in which Mason wasn’t at her peak, she exploded Saturday against Valparaiso with some spikes that brought sounds of awe from the crowd.

The second game is where Mason took over. With the score 1-0, Mason sent a rocket of a serve over the net that the Crusader defense couldn’t handle.


Valpo managed to keep the score close at 4-3, until Mason erupted again. She had three kills and another ace in the next eight serves to extend the Huskie lead to 8-3.

The Crusaders would never get any closer and NIU won game two 15-7, with the support of the senior.

For the game Mason was unstoppable. She registered 12 kills in 22 attempts with two errors for a .455 attack percentage. Mason also had four aces and four digs.

Baker also came out ready to play on this night.

In the beginning, however, Baker did seem a bit shaky. On one of the first points of the match Shelby Snyder set her and … whoops. A whiff. Baker seemed to just laugh it off after the initial disappointment and then helped initiate a comeback.

With NIU down 5-1 in game one, Baker tricked Valpo with a nice tip over the net.

Then moments later with Valpo leading 5-3, Baker rejected a Crusader attack and put another point on the board for the Huskies.

It was these two plays that brought the crowd alive and into the match.

“It was great to see both Andrea and Wendy have good matches for senior night,” Waite said. “I’m real proud of both. … They both are big contributors to this program and part of the reason why we are so successful now.”