Match Notes against MINN and IOWA in PDF Format
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Oct. 26, 2004
EVANSTON, Ill. -
Northwestern (7-13, 2-8 Big Ten) returns to Welsh-Ryan Arena this Friday, Oct. 29 and Saturday, Oct. 30 to play No. 2 Minnesota (20-2, 9-1) and Iowa (9-13, 1-9) for the second time this year.
The 'Cats earned their first Big Ten win of the season Oct. 8 against Iowa, as senior Drew Robertson (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly) and freshman Courtnie Paulus (Belgium, Wis./Ozaukee) recorded double-doubles to power NU past the Hawkeyes. The 'Cats fell to the Gophers Oct. 9 in a hard-fought match that did not reflect the final 3-0 score.
Coming into Friday's match against Minnesota, Robertson is a mere 30 assists away from breaking Liz Renius' school record of 2,743. Averaging better than 36 assists per game this year, Robertson is on pace to reach the milestone against the Gophers.
Most of Robertson's assists have gone to Paulus, who leads NU's offense with 186 kills and averages 3.21 per game. Sophomore Julie Purcell (Louisville, Ky./Assumption) is a close second with 180 kills and a team-leading 3.33 average per game.
Junior co-captain Christie Gardner (West Bend, Wis./West Bend) currently ranks fourth in the conference with 183 digs and a 5.08 average per game. Her performance Oct. 16 against Indiana yielded Gardner the fourth-best dig total in the Big Ten this season with 31 in five games.
Lindsay Anderson (Wilmette, Ill./New Trier) recorded a team-leading 12 kills in NU's last match against Minnesota. But Anderson and the rest of the 'Cats offense will once again be tested by the Gophers, who boast the best-team defense in the Big Ten. They have 722 digs through 34 games this year for a 21.24 average. The Gophers also have the top individual defender in senior libero Paula Gentil, who is tops in the Big Ten in both total digs and average per game with 246 and 7.24, respectively.
Minnesota's setter Kelly Bowman is a dynamic threat for the Gophers, posting two of the three triple-doubles recorded in the Big Ten this year. Robertson is the only other player to post a triple-double.
Minnesota is coming off a pair of 3-0 sweeps over Purdue and Indiana last weekend.
This Saturday, Northwestern is seeking a season sweep of the Hawkeyes. Iowa has two players over the 200-kill mark this season in Carolyn Giese and Stacy Vitali. Giese has 268 kills with a .279 hitting percentage, while Vitali has 203 kills with a .241 hitting percentage.
Pam Kavadas ranks fifth in the Big Ten with 159 digs through 33 games for a 4.82 average. Giese and Laura Simpson both have five solo blocks on the year and have combined to average 0.84 block assists per game.
Iowa was recently swept 3-0 by both Purdue and Indiana this past weekend.
Set It and Forget It
Senior setter Drew Robertson has made her mark on the Northwestern record book in her three years wearing the Purple and White. Last season, the Long Beach, Calif. native recorded 1,463 assists, good for second place in Northwestern's all-time single-season record book. Robertson also has a firm hold on the top spot with 1,515 assists, which she accomplished her sophomore year. She now stands at second all-time with 4,713 and is a mere 30 assists shy of overtaking Liz Renius' school record of 4,743. She has averaged 36 assists over NU's first 20 matches, which puts her on track to reach the milestone this Friday, Oct. 29 against Minnesota.
Gardner Born to Dig
In 2003-04, junior co-captain Christie Gardner was a key offensive threat for the 'Cats, ranking fourth on the team with 290 kills and a 2.57 average. With the graduation of all-Big Ten performer Erika Lange and Iwona Lodzik, you'd think Gardner would have been a go-to weapon for NU's offense. Given Gardner's incredible athleticism though, Chan saw the potential for her to become a premier defender in the Big Ten. Gardner has not disappointed, excelling in the back row for the 'Cats this year. She currently ranks fourth in the conference with 183 digs and a 5.08 average per game. Her performance Oct. 16 against Indiana yielded Gardner the fourth-best dig total in the Big Ten this season with 31 in five games.
The 'Cats rank in the top half of the Big Ten when it comes to defense this year. Through 36 games, NU has recorded 31 solo blocks--second most in the conference. The 'Cats also have 112 block assists, giving them 87.0 total blocks on the year. Their 2.42 blocks per game average ranks seventh in the Big Ten. NU's 626 digs on the year have them at fourth in the conference, averaging 17.39 per game. The Wildcats' 109 digs Oct. 16 against Indiana earned them the third-best dig total in the Big Ten this season.
The Elusive Triple-Double
Currently on a streak of sixth-straight double-doubles, Robertson has also recorded a rare triple-double Oct. 16 against Indiana when she lit the Hoosiers up for 11 kills, 27 digs and 57 assists. That performance is one of only three triple-doubles in the Big Ten this year.