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    Wildcats Begin Big Ten Play On The Road This Weekend

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Stephanie Holthus was named MVP in three of Northwestern's four non-conference tournaments this season.

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Stephanie Holthus was named MVP in three of Northwestern's four non-conference tournaments this season.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Sept. 21, 2011

    Northwestern (9-2) at Wisconsin (8-4)
    Friday, Sept. 23 | 7 p.m. | Wisconsin Field House (Madison, Wis.)
    Streaming Video
    Gametracker: NUsports.com

    Northwestern (9-2) at No. 9 Minnesota (7-2)
    Sunday, Sept. 25 | 1 p.m. | Sports Pavilion (Minneapolis, Minn.)
    Streaming Video | Free Audio
    Gametracker: NUsports.com

    Northwestern Volleyball Notes

    EVANSTON, Ill. - Following a successful non-conference slate which saw the Wildcats win nine of eleven contests, head coach Keylor Chan's young team is ready to turn its attention to Big Ten play where they will face road tests at Wisconsin and No. 9 Minnesota this weekend.

    Opening Serve:

    Northwestern is coming off of an outstanding weekend that saw the squad knock off tough competition in the form of Duquesne, Colgate and New Mexico State en route to its third straight Wildcat Classic championship and sixth in the last seven seasons. After downing Duquesne in Friday night's home opener at Welsh-Ryan Arena, the 'Cats returned on Saturday to post straight-set sweeps over both Colgate and New Mexico State.

    Scouting the Badgers:

    2011: 8-4 overall, 0-0 Big Ten. Last Week: W vs. South Florida (3-0), L vs. Notre Dame (0-3), W vs. Western Michigan (3-1). Head Coach: Pete Waite (Ball State, 1981). 13th season at Wisconsin (280-119, .701); 23rd season overall (546-221, .712). Key Players: Crystal Graff (Fr., OH): 100 kills, 92 digs, five service aces; Alexis Mitchell (Jr., MB): 80 kills, .333 hitting pct., 38 total blocks; Courtney Thomas (Fr., S/OH): 83 kills, .290 hitting pct., 265 assists, eight service aces; Dominique Thompson (So., MB): 79 kills, .335 hitting pct., 27 total blocks.

    Scouting the Golden Gophers:

    2011: 7-2 overall, 0-0 Big Ten. Last Week: W vs. South Florida (3-0), L vs. Notre Dame (0-3), W vs. Western Michigan (3-1). Interim Head Coach: Laura Bush (Illinois, 1992). 1st season at Minnesota (7-2, .778); 10th season overall (107-169, .388). Key Players: Ashley Whittman (So., OH): 152 kills, .319 hitting percentage, 73 digs, 21 total blocks; Tori Dixon (So., MB): 101 kills, .432 hitting pct., 30 total blocks, 13 service aces; Mia Tabberson (Jr., S): 391 assists, 55 digs, 24 total blocks; Jessica Granquist (Sr., L): 165 digs, 28 assists.

    Super Sophomore: Stephanie Holthus (Burlington, Ill./Central) has continued to shine for Northwestern in her second season. Holthus was named to the all-tournament team in all four of the Wildcats' pre-season tournament, taking home MVP honors at the Utah Classic, Chicagoland Challenge and Wildcat Classic. The Burlington, Ill., native leads the Big Ten and ranks fourth overall in the NCAA with 5.72 points per set; she also leads the conference and ranks fifth in the country with 5.05 kills per set.

    Old Face in a New Place: Following the graduation of Northwestern's former primary setter, Elyse Glab (Chicago, Ill./Resurrection), redshirt junior Madalyn Shalter (Ottawa, Ohio/Ottawa-Glandorf) has assumed the role with relative ease. Currently, Shalter ranks fifth in the Big Ten and 18th overall in the NCAA with 11.41 assists per set in 2011. Prior to this season, Shalter had tallied 269 kills in her career as a hitter, including a career-best 165 last year.