Cats head into second half (Volleyball)

Jimmy Mitchell

In beating Michigan State on Wednesday, Northwestern repaid the Spartans for an Oct. 3 loss during a stretch in which the Wildcats’ play was marked by inconsistency and ineffectiveness.

Now, coming off of their third straight victory, the Cats must beat Michigan if they are to make the second half of the Big Ten schedule one of revenge.

The No. 20 Wolverines (17-5, 8-5 Big Ten) will arrive in Evanston to face Northwestern (13-9, 4-7) today. The Wolverines have gone 2-2 since their sweep of NU on Oct. 7 in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“They hammered us last time,” NU head coach Keylor Chan said. “We just want to show them that we’re competitive and that we can play with a top-25 team. It’s not going to be an easy task, but hopefully we can bring some energy and intensity to the match.”

Freshman setter Elyse Glab and senior outside hitter Courtnie Paulus figure to be keys to the Cats’ offensive attack. Taken together, the two players can be seen as representative of the combination of veterans and underclassmen that have propelled the Cats through the 2007 campaign.

Glab, in her first year at NU, has become the team’s starting setter. She is ranked 33rd in the nation with 12.56 assists per game. Of the 32 setters ranked above her, only six are freshmen.

As setter, it is Glab’s job to get the ball to the precise location needed for the hitters to attempt a spike. Without pinpoint control, an error or a dig by the opposing team is likely to occur.

“We practice it a lot, but there is also a lot of verbal communication going on during the games,” Glab said.

Paulus, a beneficiary of many of Glab’s sets this season, is in her final year at NU. The senior notched her 1,000th career kill against Saint Louis on Sept. 15, becoming the 18th player in school history to reach the mark.

In addition, Paulus and fellow senior outside hitter Lindsay Anderson are only the fifth set of NU classmates to be on the 1,000-kill list together.

Paulus sees herself as a leader for Glab and the rest of NU’s promising group of underclassmen.

“I’m a pretty vocal leader, and I would like to think that I lead by example as well,” Paulus said. “You really want to set a good example for the girls who are going to take your place some day.”

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