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    Northwestern Opens Home Slate with Wildcat Challenge

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Maggie Slater was one of three Wildcats to make collegiate debut at last weekend's Bronco Classic.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Maggie Slater was one of three Wildcats to make collegiate debut at last weekend's Bronco Classic.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Sep 4, 2013

    Northwestern Notes Get Acrobat Reader

     Wildcat Challenge - vs. Columbia
     Date  Friday, Sept. 6 | 12:00 p.m.
     Location  Welsh-Ryan Arena  | Evanston, Ill.
     Live Stats  GameTracker
     Social Media  @NUVball   |  Facebook
     Wildcat Challenge - vs. Belmont
     Date  Friday, Sept. 6 | 7:00 p.m.
     Location  Welsh-Ryan Arena  | Evanston, Ill.
     Live Stats  GameTracker
     Social Media  @NUVball   |  Facebook
     Wildcat Challenge - vs. Boise State
     Date  Sunday, Sept. 8 | 11:30 a.m.
     Location  Welsh-Ryan Arena  | Evanston, Ill.
     Live Stats  GameTracker
     Social Media  @NUVball   |  Facebook

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- After opening the regular season on the road last weekend, the Northwestern Wildcats return to the familiar confines of Welsh-Ryan Arena Friday, Sept. 6 for the 2013 Wildcat Challenge.

    NU will play its first match at noon on Friday against the Ivy League's Columbia Lions before battling the Belmont Bruins in the nightcap at 7 p.m. The 'Cats have never faced either opponent on the volleyball court. After breaking Saturday while their gridiron counterparts battle Syracuse at Ryan Field, the Wildcats return to the hardwood on Sunday to face the Boise State Broncos at 11:30 a.m.

    Fans who are planning on attending the early session of matches on Friday are asked to be aware of some unique parking regulations. All fans will be directed to park in the lot directly west of Welsh-Ryan Arena across Ashland Ave. Further, cars will be limited to park in the north half of the lot (north of Walker Way). Signs will be posted and attendants will be positioned to direct vehicles to the proper location.

    Those fans who wish to attend the match between Belmont and Columbia on Saturday morning will be allowed to park in the west lot, however because of Northwestern's football game against Syracuse later in the day, they must exit the lot promptly upon the conclusion of the volleyball contest. For any parking questions or concerns, please call NU Athletic Facilities at 847-491-7887.

    Here are some notes and information to set the scene for this weekend's Wildcat Challenge:

    Going the Distance
    After becoming one of the last teams in the country to play a five-set match in 2012, Northwestern checked that off its list on opening night in 2013. The Wildcats went to nearly two months without a long match last season, waiting until Oct. 17, 2012 against Illinois to reach five. This year, decisive sets have been required in two of the team's first three matches after going five games just three times all of last season. NU was 1-2 in five-set affairs a year ago and is 1-1 in the early going this time around.

    Inside Northwestern Volleyball

    Fresh Faces
    Northwestern used three true freshmen on the court during the Bronco Classic over the weekend. Newcomers Kayla Morin and Maddie Slater both started the first match of their respective careers at Western Michigan on Aug. 30. Setter Caleigh Ryan made her debut the following day against Oklahoma. All three of the talented youngsters started the tournament finale against Milwaukee on Aug. 31, which turned into the first win of the season for the 'Cats.

    Straight to the Top
    Outside hitter Stephanie Holthus is continuing her ascent to the top of the list in several all-time NU records. After opening the season 10th on the all-time list in kills, Holthus surpassed Shelley Brzozowski (1986-'89) on opening weekend and now sits in ninth place with 1,346 kills. Holthus moved ahead of both Courtnie Paulus (2004-'07) and Liz Renius (1995-'98) in digs. The senior has 1,036 digs and ranks 13th all-time in that category. She currently ranks second all-time behind Erika Lange (2000-'03) with 3.67 kills per set.

    Tough Slate
    The Wildcats will face another challenging schedule in 2013, both in and out of conference play. Nine teams on NU's schedule appear in this week's AVCA top 25 coaches poll. Two more squads on the schedule received votes in the latest edition of the poll that was released on Monday. Northwestern will play a total of 19 matches against teams either in the top 25 or receiving votes with the first of those tests coming against the (rv) Oklahoma Sooners on Aug. 31. Next up will be No. 9 Hawai'i in Honolulu on Sept. 13.

    To view the complete notes package, please download the PDF at the top of the page.

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