Dec. 2, 2008
2008 Northwestern Volleyball Final Release
Northwestern concluded the 2008 season with an overall record of 8-23 and were 2-18 in Big Ten Conference action. NU's signature win this season was a five-set upset of 17th-ranked Illinois in Champaign on Oct. 17. The Wildcats played 14 matches against teams ranked in the AVCA top-25 poll, and faced eight teams which qualified for the 2008 NCAA Volleyball Championships.
Nobilio Sits Alone Atop NU All-Time Dig Leaders
Junior Kate Nobilio continues to establish herself as one of the top players in Northwestern history, and wrapped up the 2008 season in grand style. Entering the season finale against 15th-ranked Illinois at Welsh-Ryan Arena, Nobilio needed just 11 digs to surpass Christie Gardner as the Wildcats' all-time digs leader. She accomplished the feat late in the second set, thwarting an Illini attack to sit alone atop NU's dig list. Nobilio concluded her junior season with 1,665 digs and now sets her sights on becoming the first Wildcat to eclipse the 2,000-dig plateau. Nobilio finished the season with 554, the third-best single-season performance in school history, and now holds the first, third and fourth-best single-season dig totals in program history.
Hyser Concludes Wildcat Career Among All-Time Greats
One of the staples of the Northwestern program the past four seasons has been middle blocker Chelsy Hyser, who concluded her Wildcat career with her place firmly cemented in the NU record books. Hyser has been one of the top blockers in the program's history, and capped off her career by recording 114 blocks (22 solo and 92 block assists) in 2008. She leaves Evanston ranked fourth all-time in block assists with 361, is sixth in total blocks (423) and eighth in solo blocks (74). Hyser also was an offensive force for the `Cats, leading the team in kills with 304, upping her career total to 970. Her .290 hitting percentage also was a team-best and goes down as the eighth-best performance in the program's history. Hyser proved to be a consistent threat at the nets during her time in Evanston, as her career hitting percentage of .297 is second on the all-time list, trailing only Erika Lange's .304 hitting percentage.
Glab Finishes Season Seventh on All-Time Assist List
Sophomore Elyse Glab has already made her presence felt in the short time she has been in Evanston, and looks to continue to build her legacy. Glab finished the 2008 season with 1,101 assists, upping her career total to 2,310 and placing her seventh on the all-time Wildcat assist list. She enters her junior season just 25 helpers shy of Jackie Nuñez for sixth-place all-time, and has her sights set on becoming just the fourth player to join the 3,000-assist club. Glab became the ninth Wildcat to eclipse 2,000 assists in a career at Wisconsin on Oct. 29. She also ranked third on the team in digs (203) and blocks (67) in 2008.
Moffett, Gray Have Break-Through Seasons for Wildcats
Sophomores Sabel Moffett and Brittani Gray both took redshirt seasons in 2006, and it appears that extra season of learning started to pay off in 2008. Gray and Moffett both proved to be offensive threats for the Wildcats, finishing second and third on the team in kills this past season with 288 and 280, respectively. Moffett's .264 hitting percentage ranked second on the Wildcats, upping her career percentage to .255, which currently ranks seventh on the all-time list, and finished first in total blocks (115) and block assists (94). Gray remains on pace to join the 1,000-kill club before her career is over, upping her two-year total to 528. She also set personal bests in kills, attempts (825), service aces (16) and blocks (46) in her sophomore campaign.
Baxterbeck Sets Career Bests in Every Statistical Category
One of the highlights of the 2008 season for Northwestern was the play of junior Ariel Baxterbeck, who was playing healthy for the first time in her career after a pair of knee injuries. Baxterbeck showed the spark that made her a coveted recruit out of high school, setting personal bests in every statistical category this year, including kills (133), attempts (477), blocks (23) and digs (207). She was one of just two Wildcats to record triple-digit totals in both kills and digs, and looks to be one of the key players heading into the 2009 season.
Freshmen `Cats Make Impact Out of the Gates
After losing four key seniors to graduation in 2007, the Wildcats knew they would need some significant contributions from the freshman class, and they found it from both Alexandra Ayers and Madalyn Shalter. Ayers hit the court running, starting her first collegiate game in the season opener against Illinois-Chicago, and saw action in all 31 matches in 2008. Ayers was one of six Wildcats to tally triple-digit kill totals, finishing with 133, and was fourth on the team in digs with 185. Shalter missed the first six matches due to an injury, but saw significant action in the final 25 matches of the year, tallying 52 kills, 70 assists and 155 digs while also adding 18 blocks defensively.
Wildcats Among Big Ten Leaders
With the 2008 regular season all wrapped up, a pair of Wildcats made their mark among the Big Ten leaders all season. Elyse Glab is among the top six in the conference in assists per set at 9.74, while libero Kate Nobilio is second in the conference and 46th nationally in digs at 4.69 per set.
Up Next: Europe
With the 2008 season wrapped up, the Wildcats now turn their attention overseas as they prepare for a 10-day European trip during spring break 2009. Keylor Chan's squad will spend the break traveling and competing through Italy and Slovenia, beginning in Rome, Italy's historic capital city. The `Cats then travel north to Venice before concluding the excursion in a number of cities in neighboring Slovenia. NU will go head-to-head with a handful of professional teams from across Western Europe. The full schedule of the Wildcats' trip to Europe, including a listing of Northwestern's opponents, will be released in February.
For the complete 2008 Northwestern Volleyball final release, click the PDF link above.