NIU set to ‘return favor’ in Madison

By John Dietz

Now that the NIU volleyball team has cruised through its three-game homestand without losing a set, the Huskies now must travel to Big Ten rival Wisconsin tonight for a match that should not be watched by anyone with a heart condition.

The Badgers are probably licking their chops with thoughts of continuing their dominance over a team in which they possess a 16-1 overall record against.

With a record like that one would expect NIU to just show up and be happy with staying in the match.

Not so fast.

The Huskies are playing some of their best volleyball ever. The team has lived up to all the preseason hype by posting a 7-2 record, and they are riding the momentum of a three-match win streak.

Also, Wisconsin has a new coach and lost several seniors from last year. Wisconsin “may be going through a transitional period,” said NIU coach Pete Waite.

The Badgers (5-5) are indeed off to a shaky start.

However, even with all of these factors weighing into how the match is ultimately decided, NIU may possess the intangible that pushes them over the top.


Granted, avenging 16 losses in one match isn’t really what the Huskies have in mind. NIU lost a tough five-game match against Wisconsin at Chick Evans Field House last year and not one of the players from last year is gone.

The bitter feeling of that loss still lingers with all of the players.

“We’re ready to return the favor,” Waite said. “We know going in that they’re used to playing strong teams. Last year we were a little unsure of ourselves. … We’re going into Wisconsin (this time) with a lot of confidence. We have a lot of offensive threats that Wisconsin is going to have to contend with.”

Included in that arsenal are Amy Foulke (89 kills), Wendy Mason (80), Becky Ramsey (74), and Mid-Continent Player of the Week nominee Kori Schauer (98).

Waite is happy with the performance of all of his players but gave high praise to the recent play of Schauer.

“I’m especially pleased with Kori Schauer,” Waite said. “She’s shown so much confidence in her own game. She’s part of the reason we’ve been raised to another level.”

Another player that Wisconsin players will have to focus on is setter Shelby Snyder. Even with her broken finger, she has recorded team highs in assists (336) and service aces (17).