Huskies impress in fall 2021 performances

Five NIU athletes had standout performances during sporting events throughout the fall 2021 season.


Courtesy of Brian Fisher

COVID-freshman wide receiver Trayvon Rudolph stiff arms a defender in the first half of NIU’s 52-47 loss to Kent State on Nov. 3 at Dix Stadium. Rudolph finished the game with three receiving touchdowns and a program-record 303 receiving yards.

By Noah Silver, Sports Reporter

Huskie athletes showed that they belonged this past sports season with impressive showing throughout Fall 2021. Of those, five athletes stood out as they put on performances that left onlookers and opponents in awe.

Nick Markanich, men’s soccer:  3 goals, 4 shots (Sep. 18 vs. Western Illinois University)

Senior forward Nick Markanich turned heads all year with his amazing goal scoring ability and on-field vision. Entering as the nation leader in goals scored with 16, Markanich added three to his total against the Western Illinois University Leathernecks. After scoring first in the 12th minute off a volley, Nick quickly added to the Huskies’ score as he scored again in the 35th minute off an assist from his brother and senior defenseman Anthony Markanich. Nick then one more in the 38th minute on a penalty kick. The Huskies went on to win the game 6-0.

Jasmine Ly, women’s golf: 4-under par, T-4th finish (Sep. 29 at Johnie Imes Invitational)

Sophomore Jasmine Ly helped lead the Huskies to a seventh place finish in the 14-team field at the Johnie Imes Invitational on Sep. 29. Ly shot all three rounds even or under par, with her best round finishing at 69. Ly finished the match at four-under par, tying her for fourth place along with Noelle Zoe Beijer from the University of Missouri and Hailey Katona from Mercer University.

Senior Reece Nilsen hits a tee-shot during a tournament qualifying round at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove. Nilsen claimed solo second, Monday at the Badger Invitational in Verona, Wis. (Zulfiqar Ahmed | Northern Star)

Reece Nilsen, men’s golf: 6-under par, 1st finish (Oct. 19 at Xavier Invitational)

Senior Reece Nilsen competed as an individual at the Xavier Invitational, taking home first place honors. Nilsen finished six-under par to earn him his first career win. Nilsen was hot all tournament long, shooting 71 in the first round, 69 in the second and a career-best 67 on his last round. With the win, he became the first Huskie to earn individual medalist honors at a tournament since Joo-Young Lee in March 2016.

Trayvon Rudolph, football: 14 rec, 309 yds, 3 rec TD (Nov. 3 at Kent State University)

Freshman wide Receiver Trayvon Rudolph had his breakout game against the Kent State University Golden Flashes as he lit up the defense for 309 receiving yards. His performance set an NIU and Mid-American Conference record in receiving yards in a game. Rudolph also tied former NIU wide receiver Kenny Golladay for second-most receptions in a game by a Huskie with 14 receptions. Although the Huskies went on to lose the game 52-47, Rudolph was able to etch his name in NIU history.

Francesca Bertucci, women’s volleyball: 4 spikes, 1 assist, 39 digs (Nov. 17 vs. Western Michigan University)

Freshman defensive specialist Francesca Bertucci had a monster game for the Huskies against the Western Michigan Broncos as she had a season high 39 digs.  Her performance tied for the second-most digs in a four set match in the country at the time. It also tied her for the fifth-most digs in a single match in school history. Bertucci and the Huskies went on to win the match 3-1, thanks in no small part to her performance.