Oct. 9, 1997
Wildcats Look to Rebound at Illinois and Wisconsin
Northwestern will attempt to break a three-match losing streak this weekend, travelling to Illinois and Wisconsin. The 'Cats dropped a 3-0 decision to current conference co-leader Michigan last Wednesday, followed by a 3-1 loss to 16th-ranked Michigan State on Sunday. Jessica Holloway paced NU in kills both matches with 12 vs. UM and 10 vs. MSU. Sharon Fisk continues to play well at the net, as she collected nine total blocks in the seven games against the Wolverines and Spartans.
Did You Know?
* NU has played two top-25 opponents this year (Florida and Michigan State), neither of which swept the Wildcats
On The Blocks
* Total kills in conference games: NU 230, Opponents 227
* NU's 10-3 mark to open the season was the team's best start since 1987
* Liz Renius currently ranks third on the all-time NU assist chart with 2,717 assists. Andrea Proos is in second at 2,874.
A big reason NU has been much more competitive this season has been the team's play at the net. Last year, in 120 games spanning 33 matches, the Wildcats managed just 199 total team blocks (1.66 per game). This year, NU has posted 108 total team blocks in 54 games, an average of 2.01 blocks per game. This is a 21 percent increase over last year's average.
Individually, Melissa Doan led NU last year in total blocks with 69. This year, Sharon Fisk already has 66 total blocks and, with a strong Big Ten campaign, could have one of the 10 best seasons in team history in blocks assists and total blocks.
The Dig ... And The Kill For Holloway
Junior outside hitter Jessica Holloway (Lafayette, Ind./McCutcheon) once again ranks among the Wildcat leaders in kills and digs. This season, she leads NU and ranks 10th in the Big Ten in kills per game at 3.70. She also leads the team in digs with 146 (2.70 per game).
Holloway currently owns 819 career kills and 876 career digs. She needs just 25 digs to move into 10th place on the all-time NU career chart. With a strong Big Ten season, she could become just the fifth player in NU history to record 1,000 career kills and digs. The last to accomplish the feat was Stacey Kammes, who had 1,408 kills and 1,218 digs from 1989-92.
A Power Surge
Jessica Holloway is one of the strongest athletes at Northwestern - male or female. The outside hitter posted a leg squat of 350 pounds earlier this fall. Of all current NU student-athletes who weigh 185 pounds or less, Holloway's squat is the sixth best overall and tops among NU female athletes. Of the five 185-pounders above her, all are football players.
Honors and Awards
Here's a list of accolades, thus far, for the 1997 Wildcats:
Wildcats Nearing Win No. 400
Jessica Holloway - Wolfpack Invitational MVP
Carmen Burbach - Wolfpack Invitational All-Tournament
Jessica Holloway - Wildcat Classic All-Tournament
Melissa Doan - Wildcat Classic All-Tournament
Sharon Fisk - Chicago Challenge MVP
Liz Renius - Chicago Challenge All-Tournament
The NU volleyball program is nearing a milestone, entering this weekend with an all-time record of 398-337-5. With two more wins, the 'Cats would reach the 400 win mark.
1997 Wildcat Match Superlatives
Kills - 26, Sharon Fisk vs. Loyola-Chicago, 9-12
Attacks - 53, Jessica Holloway at Iowa, 9-26
Percentage - .538, Melissa Doan at NC State, 8-30
Aces - 5, Carmen Burbach vs. DePaul, 9-13
Assists - 59, Liz Renius at Western Michigan, 9-3
Digs - 23, Jessica Holloway vs. Loyola-Chicago, 9-12
Block Solos - 2, Sharon Fisk at Western Michigan, 9-3,
and vs. DePaul, 9-13
Block Assists - 7, Sharon Fisk at NC State, 8-30,
and vs. DePaul, 9-13
Total Blocks - 9, Sharon Fisk vs. DePaul, 9-13
Kills - 76 at Western Michigan, 9-3
Percentage - .299 at NC State, 8-30
Aces - 10 vs. Georgetown and at NC State, 8-30
Digs - 70 at Iowa, 9-26
Total Blocks - 11 vs. #16 Michigan State, 10-5
Please add #13 Karen Christman (So., DS, Kingwood, Texas/Kingwood) to the Wildcat roster in the media guide. Christman played in 30 of NU's 33 matches last season and recorded 70 digs. Christman originally was scheduled to study overseas this fall, thus her omission from the media guide.
Where They Rank
Here's where these Wildcats rank among the current Big Ten leaders:
Assists - Liz Renius (9th - 12.28 apg)
Blocks - Sharon Fisk (9th - 1.22 bpg)
Kills - Jessica Holloway (10th - 3.70 kpg)
Lots of Personal Bests Set This Year
Lowest Hitting Pct. By Opponents - 4th (.183)
Big Ten Games Only - 6th (.247)
Fewest Kills By Opponents - 4th (13.61)
Big Ten Games Only - 2nd (15.13)
Fewest Assists By Opponents - 5th (12.30)
Big Ten Games Only - 2nd (13.93)
Fewest Digs By Opponents - 6th (13.43)
Big Ten Games Only - 3rd (13.20)
Several NU players have set or tied personal highs during the 1997 campaign:
Head Coach Kevin Renshler
.538 hitting percentage at NC State (old mark: .517)
four aces at UIC (old mark: three)
26 kills vs. Loyola-Chicago (old mark: 13)
51 total attempts vs. Loyola-Chicago (old mark: 51)
seven block assists at NC St./vs. DePaul (old mark: 5)
nine total blocks vs. DePaul (old mark: 8)
20 kills at NC State (old mark: 19)
four assists at No. Illinois (ties mark)
four block assists vs. Florida (ties mark)
four total blocks vs. Florida (ties mark)
12 kills at Western Michigan (ties mark)
.500 hitting percentage at UIC (old mark: .381)
six block assists vs. Michigan State (old mark: five)
six total blocks vs. Michigan State (ties mark)
five block assists vs. DePaul (old mark: four)
five total blocks vs. DePaul (ties mark)
three block assists vs. Akron (ties mark)
three total blocks vs. Akron/Georgetown (ties mark)
Kevin Renshler (Ohio State, '87) is in his first season as NU head coach and his fifth season overall. His career record stands at 66-72. Renshler spent four seasons at head coach at Kent (1993-96) before taking over the Northwestern program. Last year, Renshler guided Kent to a 20-12 overall mark, a 10-7 record in the MAC and an impressive 13-1 home record. The 10-7 conference record was the first winning conference season in Kent's history.