Oct. 18, 2011
Northwestern (10-9, 1-7 Big Ten) vs. No. 1 Illinois (19-0, 8-0 Big Ten)
Wednesday, October 19
Welsh-Ryan Arena (8,117)
Evanston, Ill. 7 p.m.
Streaming Video: BTDN on Wildcats All-Access
In-game Twitter updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
Northwestern Game Notes (PDF)
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern concludes a three-match home stand on Wednesday night when the nation's top-ranked team, the Illinois Fighting Illini invade Welsh-Ryan Arena for the latest installment of the instate rivalry.
Katie Dutchman Collects Big Ten Accolades
Redshirt freshman middle blocker Katie Dutchman received the first weekly honor of her career from the Big Ten office this week. In fact, she also received her second honor. Dutchman was named the conference's Co-Defensive Player and Co-Freshman of the Week on Oct. 17 along with Purdue's Kierra Jones. The second-year standout tallied 18 total blocks in two matches over the weekend for NU, including a career-high effort of 11 against Michigan on Oct. 15. Dutchman also registered the first double-double of her career against the Wolverines by adding 10 kills in the five-set match.
We Were Merely Freshmen
Youth has been served for Northwestern in 2011. At the season-opening Utah Classic, four true or redshirt-freshmen saw significant action--including a trio who made a combined eight starts--to set the stage for what will be a young NU lineup this year (indeed, five freshmen already have seen court time with 181 combined sets among them). Second-year Wildcat Katie Dutchman (see note above) has been a force in the middle, currently ranking third in the Big Ten with 1.32 blocks per set and fourth with 0.46 aces per set. Yewande Akanbi has seen action in 68 sets this year and ranks second on the team with 162 kills (2.38 per set). On Oct. 14 vs. Michigan State, Akanbi converted a career-best 15 kills. Hannah Crippen--recruited to NU as a setter--has started all 19 matches; 18 on the right side and one at setter. Twice she has put down 11 kills and on Sept. 25 at Minnesota, the freshman tallied nine total blocks for the Wildcats She added a personal-best 34 digs on Oct. 15 against Michigan. Defensive specialist Caroline Niedospial also has played in 46 sets this year and accounted for 73 digs for NU, while Monica McGreal and Kirsten Watson have each appeared in one match.
Three Wildcats Pacing Big Ten In Big Stats
As evidenced in the stats on page six of these notes, three Wildcats are leading or near the top of the Big Ten in their respective specialities following six weeks of action. Stephanie Holthus has averaged 4.13 kills per set, good for fourth in the conference and 35th overall in the NCAA. Junior libero Julie Chin bested the 6.0 digs per set mark with a 6.22 rate on opening weekend; she finds herself fourth in the conference with a 4.54 digs per set rate after 19 matches. Middle blocker Katie Dutchman is enjoying success at the net as she finds herself fourth in the Big Ten with a 1.32 block-per-set average. Dutchman also checks in a fourth with 0.46 service aces per set. As a team, Northwestern ranks third in opponent's hitting percentage (.158), third in aces (1.41 per set) and third in digs (15.29 per set).
Wednesday's match has been dubbed Team Night. All teams of 15 or more will be to purchase tickets for just $3. The first 500 fans in attendance will also be given free water bottles.
For more game notes and information, please click the PDF above.
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