Nov. 21, 2005
Northwestern Match Notes in PDF Format
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EVANSTON, Ill. -- Ever since the month of November started, Northwestern has been unstoppable. Winners of six straight, their best winning streak in the Big Ten since 1983, the Wildcats now set their sights on the final two matches of the season.
Northwestern hosts No. 14 Wisconsin at 7 p.m. Wednesday night in its final home match of the season before traveling to Indiana for a 7 p.m. Friday match to round out the regular season.
Wednesday's match will be broadcast live on NUSports.com with streaming video via CSTV's All Access. To subscribe to All Access, visit NUSports.com and navigate to the audio/video page.
Needing a finish to the season that was every bit as strong as their 9-1 start, the Wildcats have responded. Entering the weekend with an 18-10 record, and with a firm hold of sixth place in the Big Ten with a 9-9 record, Northwestern has vastly improved its chances of receiving an NCAA Tournament berth.
When the Wildcats made the tourney in 2002, they did so with a 17-15 overall record and a 10-10 Big Ten mark. In its last appearance in 2003, Northwestern finished the year 18-14 and 9-11, good for seventh in the conference.
So history favors Northwestern receiving a berth out of one of the strongest conferences in the nation, but there is still work to be done.
The Wildcats have defeated two ranked opponents (then-No. 15 Purdue and then-No. 17 Minnesota) during its current streak, and will face another Wednesday night in the No. 14 Badgers. NU fell in a sweep at Wisconsin earlier this year.
The Badgers' forte is blocking, and they boast the Big Ten's top two blockers in Taylor Reineke (1.64 per game) and Sheila Shaw (1.52).
Reineke also leads Wisconsin with a .317 hitting percentage, while Audra Jeffers has 3.49 kills per game to pace the Badgers.
Friday, Northwestern faces last-place Indiana in Bloomington. After entering Big Ten play with an above-.500 record, the Hoosiers have had a rough go of things, compiling a 2-16 conference mark to this point. No Hoosier ranks in the top ten in the conference in hitting percentage, kills or digs.