Volleyball quartet earns All-MAC honors

Multiple Huskies collect All-MAC nods for fifth straight year

Amber Walker

Amber Walker

As chosen by the Mid-American Conference coaches, Sarah Angelos (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan), Mary Kurisch (La Crosse, Wis./West Salem), Amber Walker (Juneau, Alaska/Juneau Douglas/Western Oregon) and Alexis Gonzalez (Fresno, Calif./Bullard) received All-MAC honors, the league announced today.

Angelos and Kurisch were named first team performers, while Walker garnered second team status and Gonzalez earned an All-Freshman nod.

NIU’s multiple All-MAC honorees marks the fifth straight year in which at least two Huskies were on an All-MAC team.

Overall, 11th-year head coach Ray Gooden now has 31 All-MAC selections under his belt. “It’s great for our players to get recognized by the coaches for their accomplishments this season,” Gooden said.

“Amber has done a solid job in her second year as our team’s libero, improving on her back row play. Sarah, as an upperclassmen, continues to develop and it’s great for her to go from second team to first team. Mary – it’s great for her to continue to improve return to first team All-MAC as a senior. Pookie (Alexis) has done a real nice job stepping in and being one of the players that orchestrates our offense. She’s been consistent and solid all season.”

Sarah Angelos

Sarah Angelos

Angelos improved from a second team selection last year as she has career highs in kills per set (2.57), assists per set (0.32), blocks per set (0.71) and points per set (2.99), while also having a MAC fourth-best .304 hitting percentage. The junior middle blocker was named MAC West Division Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 11 and has 16 matches with 10 or more kills, 10 with a hitting percentage of .400 or better, and has multiple blocks in all but nine of 32 matches.

Kurisch repeats as a first team selection from last year and recently became NIU’s 19th member of the 1,000 Kill club. The senior middle blocker has career highs in kills per set (2.47), assists per set (0.36), aces per set (0.18), blocks per set (0.87) and points per set (3.19), and owns a MAC sixth-best .298 attack percentage. She has 16 matches with 10-plus kills, nine with an attack percentage of .400 or better, and has multiple blocks in all but 10 of 32 matches.

Walker gets honored for the first time in her career as she ranks fourth in the MAC and 77th in the nation in digs per set (4.87). The libero has a career-high 545 digs this season and recently became NIU’s 15th member of the 1,000 Dig Club. She helped NIU complete a weekly award sweep by earning MAC West Division Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 11. She has 12 matches with 20 or more digs and four with multiple aces.

Alexis “Pookie” Gonzalez

Alexis “Pookie” Gonzalez

Gonzalez is the 10th Huskie to ever earn MAC All-Freshman status, and sixth under Gooden, as she ranked seventh in the league in assists per set (10.20) and 90th in the nation.

The setter also averaged 2.41 digs, 0.32 blocks, 0.96 points, 0.49 kills and 0.30 aces per set, which rank fourth in the league. She has 15 matches with 40 or more assists, 10 with multiple aces, 13 with 10-plus digs, and 13 with multiple blocks.

As the No. 4 seed in the MAC Tournament, NIU faces No. 5 seed Akron at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 16. Live stats and video will be available at www.MAC-Sports.com.

For more information on NIU volleyball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.

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