The Northern Illinois women’s volleyball team begins its preseason camp Wednesday as the Huskies prepare for the rapidly approaching 2011 season.
The Huskies will hold their first practice at 2 p.m. today.
“We are all more than anxious and excited to get going,” said 10th-year head coach Ray Gooden. “We had a good learning session this morning. We have our first full training session this afternoon. We are excited about what our potential can be and really excited to get going today.”
NIU is coming off a very successful 2010 campaign that included an 11-0 start and the most wins since 1998 (27), a Mid-American Conference championship appearance for the first time since 2001, two All-American honorees and Victor E. Court’s first sellout.
All but one player returns for the 2011 campaign, giving the Huskies a great chance to eclipse last year’s outstanding season of accomplishments.
Granted, the one player not returning is Maddie Hughes, one of the best liberos in NIU history, but coming back this year are both All-Americans outside hitter and reigning MAC Player and Freshman of the Year Lauren Wicinski (American Volleyball Coaches Association honorable mention) and setter Kristin Hoffman (ESPN/CoSIDA Academic).
NIU also returns outside hitters senior Allison McGlaughlin and junior Meghan Romo, who combined for 575 kills in 2010; middle blockers junior Mary Kurisch and sophomore Sarah Angelos, who teamed up for 178 blocks and hit over .320; and defensive specialists junior Sue Hayes and sophomore Justine Schepler, who paired up for 305 digs.
The Huskies begin the season with the annual NIU Invitational August 26-27. The event will feature four quality teams, including three top-35 teams from last season in Cincinnati (2010 NCAA Tournament participant), Iowa State (2010 NCAA Tournament participant), and Northern Iowa (2010 NCAA Tournament participant). NIU’s first match begins at noon Friday, Aug. 26 at IUPUI.
Visit Huskie All-Access on NIUHuskies.com to see Gooden’s press conference during Tuesday’s DeKalb Media Day.