Championships Abound

Category: 2012 Spring Sports

The football team was not the only Huskie squad to bring home Mid-American Conference Championship hardware this fall. Over the course of one memorable weekend in November, Northern Illinois teams secured two titles with women’s volleyball claiming the 2011 Mid-American Conference regular season crown Nov. 11 and men’s soccer winning the MAC Tournament Championship on Nov. 13.

Volleyball’s title capped a season of excellence by coach Ray Gooden’s squad that would continue all the way to the NCAA Tournament. Northern Illinois clinched the MAC Championship, and the No. 1 seed in the league’s volleyball tournament, with a four-set win over Western Michigan to claim the program’s first MAC regular season crown since 2001. NIU rounded out its MAC regular season schedule with 14 league wins and finished the season with an overall record of 28-7. Huskies Lauren Wicinski, Kristin Hoffman, and Allison McGlaughlin earned All-America honors with Wicinski named the MAC Player of the Year and Hoffman the league’s Setter of the Year. Gooden made it a clean sweep as he picked up the MAC Coach of the Year Award.

With a school record-tying 15 wins, the Mid-American Conference Tournament title and a trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the 2011 Northern Illinois men’s soccer season will be remembered as one of the best in school history.

NIU opened the season with five straight victories, including wins over Saint Louis and Michigan, and was ranked as high as 13th in the country. The Huskies went on to secure the No. 2 seed in the MAC Tournament and defeat Buffalo, 1-0, in the semifinal match before defeating Western Michigan, 1-0, on Sean Totsch’s header in the 84th minute of play.

In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Northern Illinois defeated Western Illinois 3-0 in DeKalb. NIU’s season came to an end in the second round with a 3-0 loss to second-seeded Creighton.