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    Northwestern's Second Half Opens at No. 10 Minnesota, Wisconsin

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Savannah Paffen tips a ball over the Badger block earlier this season.

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Savannah Paffen tips a ball over the Badger block earlier this season.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Oct. 24, 2012

    Weekly Release (PDF)

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern opens the second half of its Big Ten slate this weekend with a journey north to take on the 10th-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers on Friday, Oct. 26 and the pesky Wisconsin Badgers on Sunday, Oct. 28. The Wildcats dropped hard-fought 3-1 decisions to both Minnesota and Wisconsin at Welsh-Ryan Arena to open conference play earlier this season.

     at No. 10 Minnesota
     Date  Friday, Oct. 26 | 6:30 p.m.
     Location  Sports Pavilion  | Minneapolis, Minn.
     Watch Live
     BTDN
     Live Stats  Gametracker
     Social Media  @NUVball   |  Facebook
     at Wisconsin
     Date  Sunday, Oct. 28 | 1:00 p.m.
     Location  UW Field House  | Madison, Wis.
     Watch Live  BTDN
     Live Stats  Gametracker
     Social Media  @NUVball   |  Facebook

    Road Warriors
    After playing seven of nine matches at Welsh-Ryan Arena between Sept. 14-Oct. 6, Northwestern began a stretch where it plays five of six contests away from home. The Wildcats opened their long stretch away from home on Oct. 12 with a win at No. 25 Michigan State. NU returned to Evanston to knock off the Iowa Hawkeyes on Sunday, Oct. 21. The segment ends this weekend with matches at Minnesota and Wisconsin on Friday and Sunday, respectively. Northwestern is 10-3 away from home this season, with its only losses thus far coming at the hands of 13th-ranked Purdue on Sept. 28, (rv) Michigan on Oct. 13 and No. 25 Illinois on Oct. 17.

    Paffen Powers The 'Cats
    Sophomore transfer Savannah Paffen stepped into the spotlight over the last four matches to play some of the best volleyball of her Northwestern career. The Mountain View, Calif., has posted career highs in back-to-back matches, including 15 kills and 23 attempts at Illinois (10/17) and seven blocks against Iowa (10/21). Over the last four matches Paffen leads NU with 1.13 blocks per set and ranks second with 2.93 kills per set. The sophomore is hitting a team-high .551 during that stretch with 44 kills and six errors on 69 attempts.

    Finally Going Five
    Northwestern became the last team in the Big Ten to play a five-set match this season on Oct. 17 in Champaign, Ill. The 11 other member schools have played at least two five-set matches each this season, while Illinois has played the most with nine, including five of its last seven. The last time that the Wildcats won a five-set match came on Nov. 11, 2011 against Ohio State at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Entering play last week, Northwestern was one of six teams nationwide without a five-set match this season.

    [Inside Northwestern Volleyball]

    Maddy's Milestones
    Fifth-year senior setter Madalyn Shalter recorded the 1,000th dig of her career on Oct. 12 at No. 25 Michigan State, becoming just the 14th player in program history to achieve the feat. The Ottawa, Ohio, native also entered the top-10 in program history in assists on Sept. 28 at Purdue and now owns 2,156 career helpers. Shalter needs 84 digs to join the all-time top-10 in that category and could become the first player in program history to rank in the top-10 in both digs and assists. She already joins Liz Renius ('95-'98) as the only Wildcats to record more than 2,000 assists and 1,000 digs.

    Holthus Joins 1K Club Against Gophers
    On Sept. 23 against Minnesota, junior outside hitter Stephanie Holthus buried the 1,000th kill of her career in a Northwestern uniform. The Burlington, Ill., native is currently tied for 15th on NU's all-time list with former teammate Sabel Moffett ('07-'10) with 1,132 kills. Holthus needs four kills to pass Pattijean McCahill ('80-'83) and move into 14th place. Janine Makar ('85-'88) is Northwestern's all-time leader with 1,666 kills. Holthus became the 20th player in program history to accomplish the feat and the first since Moffett ('07-'10), a 2010 All-American, did so on Oct. 29, 2010, also against Minnesota.

    Best. Start. Ever.
    Northwestern kicked off the 2012 campaign with the best start in program history. The Wildcats won their first 11 matches of the season, which included a clean sweep of all four nonconference tournaments they entered. Prior to the current group's streak, the best start open to a season belonged to the 1987 squad that won its first nine contests. The 11 victories this year also marked the longest winning streak completed since the 1983 Wildcats won 12 in a row between Oct. 19 and Nov. 19 that season.

    Where We Rank ... In The Big Ten
    Three different 'Cats are scattered across the leaderboard in five different statistical categories this week. Madalyn Shalter leads the conference with 11.58 assists per set. Stephanie Holthus ranks fourth with 4.22 kills per set and also fourth with 4.70 points per frame. Holthus is third in the Big Ten in kills in conference matches only with 4.24 per set. Katie Dutchman, who has only 44 errors on 377 attempts all season, ranks seventh with an attacking percentage of .374. The middle blocker is also seventh in the Big Ten with 0.32 aces per set.

    Scouting Minnesota
    2012: 17-4, 8-2 Big Ten; ranked No. 10 in this week's AVCA coaches poll.
    Last Week: W vs. Wisconsin (3-0); W vs. No. 17 Purdue (3-1).
    Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon (BYU, '93). First season at Minnesota (17-4; .810) and first overall.
    All-Time Series: Minnesota leads, 46-18.
    Last Meeting: Minnesota wins, 3-1 (9/23/12).
    Notable: Minnesota freshman Daly Santana captured Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors for the second time this season on Monday. The Corozal, Puerto Rico, native tallied 18 kills, a team-high 29 digs and six service aces in a pair of victories against Wisconsin and No. 17 Purdue. The outside hitter was selected to the Puerto Rico Women's National Team and participated in the 2012 Pan American Cup in Mexico and the World Grand Prix.

    Scouting Wisconsin
    2012: 15-8, 3-7 Big Ten.
    Last Week: L at No. 10 Minnesota (0-3); L vs. Indiana (1-3).
    Head Coach: Pete Waite (Ball State, '81). 14th season at Wisconsin (303-139; .686) and 25th overall (569-241; .702).
    All-Time Series: Wisconsin leads, 47-28.
    Last Meeting: Wisconsin wins, 3-1 (9/21/12)
    Notable: Wisconsin needs only one more win to equal its win total from 2011. The Badgers were 16-16 last season, tying for seventh in the Big Ten at 8-12. The Badgers also won 16 matches in 2010 and 17 matches in 2008. Three more wins will give Wisconsin its most wins since 2007 (26-5).

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