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    Wildcats Close Out 2008 Season Hosting Purdue, Illinois

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Seniors Kelly Keporos and Chelsy Hyser will be recognized on Senior Night before the match against Illinois Saturday.
    Seniors Kelly Keporos and Chelsy Hyser will be recognized on Senior Night before the match against Illinois Saturday.

    Nov. 25, 2008

    Northwestern Volleyball Weekly Release - Nov. 25 Get Acrobat Reader

    Opening Serve
    Northwestern closes out the 2008 season with a pair of home matches, beginning with 18th-ranked Purdue Friday, Nov. 28. The Wildcats then host 15th-ranked Illinois in the season finale Saturday, Nov. 29. Both matches get underway at 7 p.m.

    Hyser, Keporos Honored on Senior Night
    The season finale against Illinois also marks the final home match for senior Wildcats Chelsy Hyser and Kelly Keporos. The Downers Grove and Belvidere natives have been integral parts of the NU volleyball team for the past four seasons and both will be honored before the opening serve against the Illini.

    Scouting Purdue
    18th-ranked Purdue enters the weekend tied for fourth in the Big Ten at 11-7 with an overall record of 22-8. The Boilermakers have been strong at the nets all season, ranking third in the conference in hitting percentage (.235) and are fourth in blocks per set at 2.64. Defensively they have been strong up front as well, as their opponents .186 hitting percentage is fourth in the Big Ten. Senior Stephanie Lynch has been Purdue's top performer this season, ranking third in the Big Ten in hitting percentage (.413), fourth in blocks (1.41), fifth in points (4.42) and seventh in kills (3.52). Lynch leads the squad in kills with 391, complimented by Danita Merlau's 328. Kristen Arthurs is second on the Boilers in blocks with 98 and ranks third in kills with 237. Setter Jaclyn Hart has dished out 1,113 assists on the year, ranking fifth in the conference at 9.94 helpers per set. Libero Kelli Miller has anchored the Purdue defense, averaging 4.24 digs per set, ranking sixth in the Big Ten. Head coach Dave Shondell has compiled a 120-74 (.620) record in his six seasons in West Lafayette.

    Scouting Illinois
    15th-ranked Illinois is 22-7 on the year and is third in the Big Ten with a 13-5 conference mark after defeating Purdue and Michigan State last weekend. The Illini continue to be one of the top defensive teams in the conference, as they rank second in digs per set (15.68) and third in both opponent hitting percentage (.170) and blocks per set (2.66). Individually, Johannah Bangert is tops in the conference in blocks with 170 on the year and averages 1.59 per set while also registering 159 kills. Laura DeBruler has been a major factor in her sophomore campaign, tallying 510 kills on the year and leads the Big Ten in kills per set at 4.59. Kylie McCuley is second on the squad with 316 kills, while Michelle Bartsch also has anchored the Illinois frontcourt with 270 kills and 120 blocks. The Illini are third in the conference in assists per set at 12.71, led by the duo of Hillary Haen (6.68) and Lizzie Bazzetta (5.03). Ashley Edinger has anchored the backcourt, sitting third in the Big Ten with 4.48 digs per set. Don Hardin is 230-162 (.587) in his 13 seasons in Champaign, compiling an overall record of 422-239 (.638) in his 21 years as a head coach.

    Series Information
    Northwestern and Purdue meet for the 67th Friday with the Boilermakers holding a 43-23 advantage in the series, including a 3-0 victory over the Wildcats in West Lafayette on Oct. 18. Purdue has won the last five meetings in the series, including the last two at Welsh-Ryan Arena. But NU has held strong at home, winning five of the last seven matches against the Boilers in Evanston. Saturday also marks the 67th meeting between Illinois and Northwestern, with the Wildcats having won five of the last seven matches, including a 3-2 victory over the 17th-ranked Illini in Champaign on Oct. 17. The road team has had the upper hand in recent years in the rivalry, as Illinois has won four of the last five matches in Evanston.

    Nobilio Becomes Second Wildcat to Eclipse 1,600 Dig Mark
    Junior Kate Nobilio continues to establish herself among the all-time greats, as with her 27 digs this past week against Penn State and Indiana, she upped her Wildcat career total to 1,624 and now trails Christie Gardner by just 34 digs for the top spot on the NU all-time dig list. Through the first 29 matches of the year, Nobilio is averaging just under 18 digs per match, meaning that if she keeps up her current pace, she could sit alone atop the all-time digs list at Northwestern by the end of the season. She also upped her season total to 513 digs, which is the third-best season dig total in program history. Nobilio already holds the first- and fourth-best single-season dig totals, tallying 603 in 2007 and 508 in 2006.

    Hyser Moves Into Sixth On All-Time Block List at NU
    Senior Chelsy Hyser has been a constant at the net over the last four years for the Wildcats, and the Belvidere, Ill. native has put her name in the record books as one of the top blockers in the program's history. After recording two solo and nine total blocks against Penn State and Indiana, Hyser upped her total blocks to 423 for her career, placing her fifth on the all-time list. Hyser now has 352 block assists during her four years in Evanston, moving her past Sarah Ballog into fourth-place in the Wildcat record books. Her 71 career solo blocks also moved her past Julie Wittig for eighth-place all-time at Northwestern. Hyser has also established herself as one of the most consistent hitters in Wildcat history, boasting a career hitting percentage of .294, the second-best total ever behind only Erika Lange's .304.

    Glab Now Seventh On All-Time Assist List
    Sophomore Elyse Glab has already made her presence felt in the short time she has been in Evanston, as with her 58 assists against Penn State and Indiana, she upped her career total to 2,233 and past Heather Fredin into seventh-place all-time at Northwestern. Glab now sets her sights on sixth-place Jackie Nuñez's career mark of 2,335. She also became just the ninth player in Wildcat history to notch 2,000 assists for her career on Oct. 29 at Wisconsin.

    For the complete weekly release, click the PDF link above.