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    Wildcats Make Final Postseason Push Against Illinois, Nebraska

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Madalyn Shalter and Julie Chin will be honored in a brief ceremony prior to the start of Wednesday's match vs. Illinois.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Madalyn Shalter and Julie Chin will be honored in a brief ceremony prior to the start of Wednesday's match vs. Illinois.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Nov. 20, 2012

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern closes the regular season this week with a match against instate rival Illinois at home on Wednesday, Nov. 21 and a trip to Lincoln, Neb. to face the 10th-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday, Nov. 24. The Wildcats are looking to collect a pair of wins as they work to secure an at-large bid to the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

     vs. Illinois
     Date  Wednesday, Nov. 21 | 7:00 p.m.
     Location  Welsh-Ryan Arena  | Evanston, Ill.
     Live Stats  Gametracker
     Notes  Northwestern Get Acrobat Reader | Illinois Get Acrobat Reader
     Social Media  @NUVball   |  Facebook

     at No. 10 Nebraska
     Date  Saturday, Nov. 24 | 7:00 p.m.
     Location  NU Coliseum  | Lincoln, Neb.
     Live Stats  Huskers.com
     Notes  Northwestern Get Acrobat Reader | Nebraska Get Acrobat Reader
     Social Media  @NUVball   |  Facebook

    Stephanie Holthus Named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week
    Outside hitter Stephanie Holthus was named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week, the league announced Nov. 19. The junior posted a career-high 28 kills and added 19 digs, four blocks and two assists in a 3-1 win over Michigan on Nov. 16. Holthus' 28 kills in a four-set match marked the third-best output in program history and the most since in a four-setter since Jessica Holloway put down 26 against Illinois on Nov. 7, 1998. In two matches over the weekend, the Burlington, Ill., native averaged 5.6 kills and 4.4 digs per set and recorded double-doubles against both Michigan and Michigan State. Holthus becomes the second Northwestern player to be recognized by the Big Ten this season; Madalyn Shalter was named the conference's Setter of the Week in back-to-back periods on Sept.10 and 17. It is the third weekly award of Holthus' career at NU.

    Minimal Mistakes
    Northwestern is on pace to set the record for the fewest number of errors in a single season. The Wildcats have been charged with 550 errors (18.9 per match) this season. The current school record for the least amount of miscues came courtesy of the 2010 squad, which committed only 605. NU's current hitting percentage of .217 would rank fifth all-time in program history.

    Four Is Favorable
    The Wildcats have posted their best winning percentage this season in four-set matches. Northwestern is 10-4 (.714) in four-set matches with its only losses coming vs. Wisconsin, No. 12 Minnesota, No. 13 Purdue and No. 15 Ohio State. The Wildcats are 5-8 (.385) in three-setters and 1-1 (.500) when matches have gone the distance.

    [Inside Northwestern Volleyball]

    Chin Digs
    Senior libero Julie Chin currently ranks fifth in Northwestern history with 1,381 digs, 28 behind fourth-place Jennifer Jostes ('88-'91). After opening the season 11th on the list, Chin passed Lizzie Carlson ('02-'05) on Sept. 1 against Cincinnati, Carmen Burbach ('97-'00) on Sept. 7 against Brown, Stacey Kammes ('89-'92) on Sept. 29 at Indiana, both Kathy Burns ('84-'87) and Shelley Brzozowski ('86-'89) against Penn State on Oct. 5 and Jessica Holloway ('95-'98) vs. Purdue on Nov. 4. Kate Nobilio ('06-'09), who played under current head coach Keylor Chan, is NU's all-time leader in digs with 2,194.

    Sophomore Stars
    Northwestern boasts seven true or redshirt sophomores on its current roster to comprise 54 percent of the squad. That group has accounted for 63 percent (869 of 1,364) of NU's kills this season and 73 percent (267 of 365) of the team's total blocks. Yewande Akanbi leads the sophomores and ranks second on the team with 2.49 kills per set, while Katie Dutchman has collected a team-high 0.95 blocks per set. Dutchman also leads the entire team in hitting percentage (.337) and aces per set (0.28).

    Scouting Illinois
    2012: 12-16, 6-12 Big Ten.
    Last Week: L vs. vs. (rv) Michigan State (2-3); W vs. (rv) Michigan (3-1).
    Head Coach: Kevin Hambly (BYU, '95). Fourth season at Illinois (94-36; .723) and fourth overall.
    All-Time Series: Illinois leads, 48-27.
    Last NU Win: Nov. 5, 2010 (3-0).
    Last ILL Win: Oct. 17, 2012 (3-2).
    Notable: While NU has only gone five sets twice this season, Illinois has been in 12 five-set matches. Nine of their 18 Big Ten matches have gone the distance, and seven of their 12 home matches have needed five sets to establish a winner, including the match on Oct. 17 against the Wildcats at Huff Hall. The Illini are 4-8 overall and 3-6 in the Big Ten and in five-setters this season.

    Scouting Nebraska
    2012: 21-6, 13-5 Big Ten; ranked No. 10 in this week's AVCA coaches poll.
    Last Week: L at No. 14 Minnesota (2-3); W vs. Wisconsin (3-0).
    Head Coach: John Cook (San Diego, '79). 13th season at Nebraska (382-40; .905) and 20th overall (543-113; .828).
    All-Time Series: Nebraska leads, 4-1.
    Last NU Win: Nov. 26, 2011 (3-1).
    Last NEB Win: Sept. 1, 2000 (3-0).
    Notable: A year after winning the Big Ten Championship in their first season in the conference, Nebraska returned a loaded team in 2012 that lost only one starter from 2011 and returned eight letterwinners. The Cornhuskers finished 25-5 last season, with one of those five losses coming in the regular season finale against the Wildcats in Evanston.

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