Volleyball Takes On Locals at Northwestern Invite
Friday, September 20
DePaul vs. Northwestern - 7p.m.
Saturday, September 21
DePaul vs. Harvard – Noon
DePaul vs. Loyola – 5p.m.
CHICAGO – The Blue Demons stay close to home this weekend as they participate in the Northwestern Invitational in Evanston on Friday and Saturday. DePaul (2-8) takes on their host, Northwestern (5-4), on Friday night and they face Harvard (1-3) and Loyola (4-3) on Saturday.
The Blue Demons are determined to come out fighting this weekend after a difficult loss to Northern Illinois on Tuesday night.
“We’ve had a good couple days of practice,” says Dockstader. “We expect Katie Engel to be back full tilt this weekend. I’m really looking forward to this tournament.” The Northwestern Invitational is the last tournament before DePaul opens conference.
Dockstader knows that hometown competitors will bring intense competition.
“Loyola is a great team year in and year out. We have a cross-town rivalry with the Ramblers so it’s always fun to play them,” she says. “Northwestern has the strongest team I’ve seen in three or four years. They should be tough hosts.
“A lot of our players know the girls from Loyola and Northwestern. It creates a real competitive environment and makes for a great match.”
DePaul’s Katie Engel went to Carl Sandburg H.S. in Orland Park with Northwestern’s standout middle, Erika Lange. Together the pair led their team to a State Championship their senior year.
As for the Ivy Leaguers, unfamiliarity can be dangerous. “We don’t know a lot about Harvard but they look to be a strong team from their tape. We’re going to have to be prepared for anything,” Dockstader said.
Loyola comes into the tournament with plenty of highly competitive games under their belt. The Ramblers have met up with Long Beach, Ohio State, and Illinois who they defeated in a five game match. Loyola is coached by Liz Nelson in her sixth year with the team. The Ramblers are led offensively by 5-11 senior Kristen Daly who has notched 104 kills this season as well as a team high of 68 digs. Forces at the net, 6-2 junior Carrie Culos and 6-1 senior Shari Davis, have accumulated 50 blocks combined this season. They have also racked up 46 and 66 kills, respectively, from the middle. Another key player to look out for is 5-11 sophomore Nichol Amberg whose outside hitting has given the Ramblers 66 kills and contributed defensively with 61 digs. The Rambler’s offense is directed by 5-8 sophomore Lauren Holbrook who has notched 298 assists so far this year.
Northwestern, led by Head Coach Keylor Chan, boasts six returning starters in the 2002 season. The experienced Wildcats are used to high-level competition that they see each year in the Big Ten. They have already captured a tournament title this season at the Spring Hill Suites Invitational in Charlotte, N.C. shutting out three teams in a row. Leading the team at the net is middle hitter Erika Lange, a 6-3 junior, who has posted 127 kills and totaled 49 blocks. The 6-1 junior Iwona Lodzik has helped guide the Wildcats contributing 86 kills and 75 digs. Sarah Ballog, 6-1 senior, has come up strong this season with 75 kills, 17 digs, and 13 blocks. The Wildcat offense is commanded by 5-10 sophomore setter Drew Robertson who has put up an amazing 341 assists and led her team defensively with 100 digs.
Harvard will also be battling for wins this weekend. The Crimson is coached by Jennifer Weiss who is currently in her tenth year with the team. The team comes to Chicago off of a win against New Hampshire on Tuesday night. The Ivy League crew is led by Kaego Ogbechie, a six-foot sophomore who has collected 64 kills and 21 blocks. Also putting up great numbers for the Crimson is 5-7 junior, Allison Bendush. She has totaled 53 kills, five service aces and leads her team in digs tallying 48 for the season. Mindy Jellin, a 5-8 senior, sets for Harvard having given 164 assists to her front line.