Huskies expect victory in year’s first action

By Rob Bolton

Solid defense, with a deep bench, will spell victory for the Huskies this weekend.

And NIU volleyball coach Pete Waite is certain how to win.

“We must pick up (our opponents’) tendencies early in the match,” he assured, “and that will show how mature we are.

“Every time we step onto the court, we expect to win. And we’re looking to win this tournament.”

The Huskies are traveling to Bowling Green State University today to participate in the Brown & Orange Invitational, a two-day tourney.

First up for the ladies is Kent State, Friday at 6 p.m. Last year the Lady Flashes were 10-21 (1-15 in the Mid-American Conference).

Then, after a good night’s sleep, the Huskies will take on Temple at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Last season, the Owls went 21-15 (3-3 in the Atlantic 10 Conference). They have lost only two letterwinners and could pose a threat to the Huskies. Waite, though, is familiar with Temple’s head coach, Jackie Nunez.

“She was a setter at Northwestern,” he said, “and I played college ball with her brother at Ball State. She is turning around the whole program.”

Unlike other tournaments, this one does not have a final per se. But it is set up by the coaches to feature the best two teams (of the tourney) in the final match of the weekend.

The Huskies will battle the host Falcons Saturday at 7 p.m. in the final match. Last year’s Bowling Green campaign included a bid to the NCAA Tournament and a record of 29-5 (15-1 in MAC). And, once again, the Huskies have a connection with their foe’s head coach, Denise Van De Walle.

“Denise was a graduate assistant coach at Ball State when I played there,” Waite informed, “and she coached Amy (Foulke) this summer at the Senior Elite Camp.

“We will get our feet wet with Kent State and Temple but we are shooting for Bowling Green. That will be the spotlight match.”

NIU leads BGSU 9-1 in their overall series.