Friday's Volleyball Results

Updated 9/10/2010

Friday's Volleyball Results
Ohio 3, Pittsburgh 0
Toledo 3, Creighton 2
Central Michigan 3, Milwaukee 0
No. 3 Illinois 3, Western Michigan 0
Kent State 3, Morgan State 0
Eastern Michigan 3, Eastern Illinois 0 
Miami 3, Chicago State 0
Bowling Green 3, Cornell 0
No. 7 Nebraska 3, Western Michigan 0
Buffalo 3, Binghamton 0
Northern Illinois 3, Elon 1
Northern Illinois 3, Liberty 0

Ohio 3, Pittsburgh 0
ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio volleyball team (6-2) took their first match at the Baymont Inn & Suites Invitational this afternoon, 3-0 (25-12, 25-21, 25-17) over Pittsburgh (1-7).

With the first set tied 5-5, Ohio went on an 8-0 run that featured four kills by Mandy Nichols and a service ace by Nicole Staverman. The Bobcats continued to dominate play and took nine of the next 13 points to gain their largest lead, 22-9. Sue Jacobi's fifth kill won the set, 25-12. Katie Post had three blocks while Michelle Jantsch added two aces, two blocks and 11 assists.

Ohio hit a blistering .407 with 13 kills on 27 attacks during the first set. The four service aces played a big part as well, sustaining long runs of play for the ‘Cats en route to the 1-0 lead in the match. Ohio also held the edge in errors, forcing 13 and committing only three.

Leading 10-8 in the second set, Ohio took six of the next eight points thanks to kills from Nichols, Faith Robins and Lexie Hartnett. The 16-10 lead for the ‘Cats was as large as it would get as the teams played evenly the rest of the way. Ohio hit .370 and won the set 25-21 to take a 2-0 advantage in the match.

Hartnett and Robins finished with three kills apiece while Jantsch had 10 assists and five digs and Post added four more blocks to her total. Overall, Ohio held an 8-1 advantage in blocks through the first two sets and dominated at the net against the Panthers.

Ohio slowly started to creep away during the third set as Jacobi picked up four kills and the lead got to 14-8. However, a Panther timeout led to the visitors capturing four of the next five points to cut the ‘Cats lead to 15-12. The Green & White responded with by notching eight of the next 11 points for their largest edge, 23-15. Post had three kills and an ace during the run. With the score 24-17, Pitt committed a service error, thus handing the match to the Bobcats, 3-0.

The Bobcats once again dominated play due to their edge in blocks (4-0) and service aces (4-1) combined with their ability to cut down on unforced errors (five as opposed to Pitt's 13).

Jacobi led the Bobcats with 12 kills and tied for the team lead with nine digs. Post finished with the second most points on seven kills, seven blocks and an ace. Jantsch chipped in with three kills, four blocks, nine digs, 32 assists and three of Ohio's season-high tying eight service aces.

Nichols, Robins and Hartnett combined to rack up 16 kills and seven blocks while Nicole Staverman and Meryl Bender combined for two aces, eight digs and three assists at the defensive specialist position. Overall, five Bobcats hit .357 or higher for the match (Jacobi, Jantsch, Nichols, Post and Hartnett).

Ohio hit .403 for the match and held Pitt to a .153 hitting percentage. It was the second-best hitting percentage for the ‘Cats after their home opener with VCU (.432). The block total tied the largest differential of the season (+11) which was set in the last contest against Missouri State. The one block by Pittsburgh was a season-low for an Ohio opponent.

Toledo 3, Creighton 2
MILWAUKEE, WI - Junior OH Amber DeWeerdt led the way with 22 kills, including the match-winner, as Toledo (5-2) notched a thrilling 3-2 (21-25, 26-24, 25-15, 23-25, 15-13) triumph over Missouri Valley Conference foe Creighton on Friday afternoon at Marquette's Al McGuire Center. The match was the first of four that the Rockets will play at this weekend's Marquette/UW-Milwaukee Invitational over the next three days.

"Winning this match was important because we wanted to start the weekend on a positive note," said Toledo Head Coach Greg Smith, whose team also defeated No. 12 Michigan in a five-set match earlier this season. "Creighton played us tough, and there were a lot of momentum swings throughout the match. Amber took a lot of big swings, and it was good to see here come through with some critical points."

UT utilized a balanced attack in the match with five Rockets garnering eight kills or more. Freshman OH Lauren Rafdal tallied a season-high 15 kills, freshman MB Dakota Harkins and freshman RSH Becca Reidy registered nine kills apiece and sophomore MB Bailey Bank recorded eight kills.

"We needed everyone to step up for us offensively and that's what happened," Smith said. "We were able to find a way to win, because we received contributions from multiple people. I was happy we were able to fight through adversity, and I think that's a sign that we're growing as a team."

Toledo also produced a strong defensive effort in the contest, holding a 99-74 advantage in digs. Senior libero Katie Westerfeld led the way with 23 digs with DeWeerdt (17), junior S Kassie Kadera (16), Reidy (14) and freshman OH Jordan Kielty (13) also reaching double figures. Reidy was solid at the net as well with a season- and team-best five blocks.

"Our defense has been improving, and I think we're starting to make better defensive reads," Smith said. "We still have some work to do to get where we want to be, but I like the direction we're headed."

Creighton was led offensively by senior OH Alicia Runge's 22 kills and was the only Bluejay to reach double figures.
The Rockets dropped the first set, 25-21, behind a red-hot start from Runge. Runge had kills on her first five swings and finished the set wtih seven terminations. Toledo would draw within a point at 19-18 and 22-21, only to be done in by service errors each time. Back-to-back kills by Laurel Sanford gave the Jays the first-set triumph.

Toledo tied the match with a 26-24 second-set victory. The Rockets let an early 9-3 advantage slip away and fell behind by a 16-14 margin. UT rebounded though with a 7-1 run to take a 21-17 lead. The Jays would rally with a 5-1 spurt and tie the score at 22, 23 and 24, before Harkins put down consecutive kills to clinch the set for the Rockets. Toledo had 32 digs in the second set to help offset its 12 attack errors.

Toledo was unstoppable in the third set to win 25-15 and take a 2-1 lead in the match. Toledo had 16 kills while hitting .429, while also limiting the Bluejay offense to six kills and -.032 hitting. The Jays actually led 8-5 early before UT embarked on a 14-2 surge to put the set out of reach.

Just when it looked like Creighton was cruising to a fourth-set victory to even the match, Toledo wouldn't give up. The Rockets erased a 20-13 disadvantage with an 8-0 run fueled by six Bluejay attack errors. Creighton actually trailed 23-21 late before consecutive Toledo errors were followed by two straight kills from Megan Bober to lift the Bluejays to a 25-23 fourth-set victory.

The fifth set featured nine ties and four lead changes. Creighton owned its largest lead at 11-9, but UT answered with the next two points to tie the score at 11. After trading sideouts to even the score for the final time at 12, UT would score three of the final four points to claim the win, capped by a DeWeerdt kill off of a Bluejay block.

Toledo will now take the rest of the day off before facing UW-Milwaukee and Wisconsin on Saturday. The Rockets' match against the Panthers begins at 11:00 a.m. CT followed by its contest with the Badgers at 5:30 p.m. CT.

Central Michigan 3, Milwaukee 0
MILWAUKEE -- Lauren Krupsky piled up 16 kills and four other Central Michigan volleyball players added five or more in a 3-0 victory (27-25, 25-17, 25-23) over Milwaukee at the Klotsche Center on Friday to open the Milwaukee/Marquette Invitational.

The Chippewas (4-3) held a fourth-consecutive opponent under a .160 hitting percentage, giving up just a .155 clip to the Panthers (2-5), and the standout duo of Kaitlyn Schultz and Krupsky combined for 29.5 points.

Down 23-21 in the first set, the tough serving of Schultz brought CMU to set point, 24-23. After UWM tied up the frame at 25, back-to-back kills by Krupsky and Jocelyn VerVelde sealed the first point.

A 7-2 run midway through the second set gave the Maroon and Gold all the cushion they would need to take a 2-0 lead, but the Panthers opened the third set on a 9-4 run.

The Chippewas battled from behind to get within one, 13-12, thanks to four kills by Krupsky, but the Panthers pushed their lead back to four at 18-14 and prompted a timeout by Olson.

Down 20-15, CMU's defense stiffened up and forced three attacking errors by UWM for a 5-0 run to knot the game up. The seventh block of the game by Schultz finished off the sweep.

Krupsky hit .325 on the day and added five digs and a block. Schultz had five kills, seven blocks and four aces in a breakout performance. Val DeWeerd and VerVelde added seven kills each and Lindsey Dulude chipped in six kills and two aces.

Libero Jenna Coates had a team-high 10 digs and setter Catherine Ludwig finished with 32 assists, eight digs and five blocks.

Natalie Schmitting had a team-best 11 kills for Milwaukee. Morgan Potter had a match-best 16 digs.

The Chippewas hit .189 for the match compared to the Panthers .155 clip, in large part thanks to an 11-5 block edge. Six aces also aided the Maroon and Gold's cause.

Central Michigan has now won four matches in a row and 12 of its past 13 sets. The tournament continues on Saturday against Wisconsin at noon and Creighton at 6:30 p.m., at Marquette's Al McGuire Center.

No. 3 Illinois 3, Western Michigan 0
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Sophomore middle blocker Jessica Brown tied her season high by hitting .500 with 15 kills, but Western Michigan fell to third-ranked Illinois, 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-23), at the NU Coliseum in the Ameritas Players Challenge.

Freshman libero Lena Oliver led the Broncos (6-2) with 18 digs, while junior setter Sam Viox dished out 34 assists with five digs and two kills as the Broncos hit .232 against the Fighting Illini (6-0). Freshman middle blocker Emily Harris played the last 1.5 sets and finished with career highs of five kills and .300 attack percentage.

WMU connected for 42 kills and picked up 57 digs, but Illinois still finished hitting .375 with 58 kills.

"I'm really proud of the way our girls handled themselves and played within our system and not try to do what they are not capable of," head coach Colleen Munson said. "We gave them all they could handle and they had to work to beat us."

Illinois jumped on top of the Broncos early by scoring the first four points of the match, but kills by Gillian Asque and Brown pulled WMU back within one, 10-9. Illinois scored the next two points, but WMU was able to cut the lead to one, 13-12, on a block by Viox and Brown and again on kills by Doyle at 16-15 and 17-16. The Fighting Illini pulled away late with an 8-1 run to take the opening set, 25-17.

Illinois hit .421 with 19 kills, while the Broncos hit .156 with 10 kills, five by Brown.

Kills by Brown and Asque put WMU in the lead early, 3-1, and held that lead until Illinois scored four in a row, 11-9. The Broncos rallied with a 7-1 run with five kills by Brown, a kill by Viox and an ace from Asque to go up four, 16-12. Illinois came back with a 6-2 run to tie the score and force WMU into a timeout. Freshman Ali Gossen scored for WMU to put them back on top, 19-18, as the teams began to play sideout volleyball. Brown had another kill to keep WMU in front, 22-21, but then Illinois scored the next four points to capture the set, 25-22.

The Broncos hit .255 in the second set with 16 kills, seven by Brown, and collected 28 digs, nine by Oliver. The Illini continued to put balls away with 21 kills hitting .315.

"Jess' strength is her speed and when we're in system and Sam can get her the ball, she's going to have success," Munson said. "Against a big-blocking team like Illinois, they can't respond to her speed and that's why she's able to be successful."

The Illini pulled away to a four-point lead, 10-6, until WMU scored six points in a row on two kills by Harris, block by Doyle and Harris and kills from Allyson Doyle and Asque to go up by two, 12-10. Doyle kept the Broncos in the lead, 13-12, with a kill, but Illinois scored three in a row to regain the lead, 15-13, for good. WMU battled back and cut the lead to one, 23-22, on a kill by Asque, and again on a kill by Brown, 24-23, before Illinois took the match, 25-23.

WMU picked up its hitting to .262 with 16 kills in the final set, led by Harris with four kills, while Illinois hit .417 with 18 kills.

Illinois was led by Colleen Ward with 18 kills, while Jennifer Bonilla led all players with 22 digs. Setter Hillary Haen passed out 48 assists.

The Broncos plays the tournament host, No. 7 Nebraska (6-1), at 8 p.m. ET

Kent State 3, Morgan State 0
CLEVELAND -- The Kent State volleyball team swept Morgan State, 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-14), in its opening match of the Cleveland State Invitational Presented by the Crowne Plaza Cleveland South today (Sept. 10) at Woodling Gym to end a three-match losing streak.

Junior Liva Brivule (Riga, Latvia) led the Kent State (5-4) offense with 15 kills and achieved a double-double with 10 digs on the defensive end. Senior Lauren Jones (Kentwood, Mich.) directed the KSU attack by tallying a career match-high 21 set assists. Senior Kristen Barr (Bowling Green, Ohio) posted 16 digs to lead the way on the defensive side.

KSU jumped ahead to a 5-2 advantage in the first set thanks to three kills from Brivule and another from Jones. The Bears clawed back and took a 10-8 edge, but two more kills by Brivule helped even the score at 11-all. That ignited a streak of five unanswered points by the Golden Flashes as kills by Jones, Brivule and junior Maigan Larsen (Lancaster, Wis.) and back-to-back block assists by senior Brianne Wille (Metamora, Ill.) and Larsen forced the Bears to take a timeout. Kent State then capitalized on seven more errors by Morgan State to take a 1-0 lead.

The Flashes recovered from a slow start in the second set to roll to a 2-0 match lead. Morgan State opened with a 4-0 lead and forced Kent State to take a timeout. KSU rallied to tie the set at eight-all courtesy of two kills apiece by sophomore Meredith Paskert (Brecksville, Ohio) and Brivule and another from Larsen. Another kill by Paskert, a block assist by Paskert and senior Celia Sabo (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) and two more errors by the Bears gave Kent State a 12-8 lead and forced MSU to call timeout. A kill and a block by Sabo helped push the advantage to seven, but Morgan State responded and closed the gap to four points at 17-13. KSU responded out of a timeout by closing the set on an 8-4 run that was highlighted by two kills and a service ace by Brivule and another service ace by Jones.

Kent State wrapped up the match with an 11-point triumph in the third set. Sabo set the tone by opening the third stanza with a kill, and Brivule added five more as the Flashes completed the sweep. After a kill by Morgan State, the Flashes went on a 16-7 tear to seal the deal.

The KSU attack showed steady improvement throughout the match. After hitting .176 in the first set, the Flashes responded by posting attack percentages of .346 and .323, respectively, in the second and third sets.

The Flashes wrap up the weekend tomorrow (Sept. 11) with a 10:30 a.m. contest against George Washington and a 5 p.m. showdown with host Cleveland State.

Eastern Michigan 3, Eastern Illinois 0
EAST LANSING, Mich. ( - The Eastern Michigan University volleyball team pushed its record to a perfect 9-0 with a 3-0 sweep (25-22, 25-18, 25-21) of Eastern Illinois University Friday afternoon, Sept. 10, in the opener of the Spartan Invitation here at Jenison Field House. Sophomore outside hitter Rachel Iaquaniello (Plymouth, Mich.-Dearborn Divine Child) powered down 14 kills in the victory.

The Eagles' nine match winning streak to start the 2010 season is the second-best start in school history. The program's best start came in 1990 when the then-Hurons started on a school-record 20-match winning streak.

The EMU offense, which hit a solid .266 for the match, saw six Eagles post at least five kills on the afternoon. Behind Iaquaniello, freshman Paige Roback (Maumee, Ohio-Notre Dame Academy) added nine kills and 15 digs, while sophomore Kristen Baker (Mentor, Ohio-Mentor) chipped in seven kills of her own. Junior setter Ashley Mason (Eastlake, Ohio-Lake Catholic) nearly finished with a triple-double adding 34 assists, 10 digs and eight kills.

For the Panthers, Kelsey Orr had 12 kills and eight digs, with Alex Zwettler recording seven kills. Setter Chrissie Albers had 33 assists on the day as EIU hit .183 for the match.

Eastern closes out the Spartan Invitation Saturday against Clemson University and host Michigan State University.

Miami 3, Chicago State 0
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The Miami volleyball team got things started at the Michigan/adidas Invitational Friday with a dominant, 3-0 (25-21, 25-12, 25-14), victory over Chicago State. Miami improves to 3-5 on the season, while the Cougars fall to 0-9.


Trailing 10-14 in the first set, the RedHawks began to make their run. Jackie Lang and Cassie Farrell each put down kills, while Amy Kendall scored a service ace as part of a 6-2 stretch that tied the score at 16. Tied at 17, Michele Metzler recorded two kills and Lang scored two consecutive service aces to give Miami control of the set at 22-18. The Cougars would score three of the next four points to pull within two at 21-23, but Madison Hardy hit the final two kills to give Miami the 25-21 win.

In front 7-5 in set two, Miami broke the score wide open by scoring the next eight points off of Colleen Loftus' serve. Metzler, Kendall and Jenn Caylor each had kills during the run, while Loftus had a service ace. Chicago State would go on a 6-3 run to pull within seven at 11-18, but two Amy Raseman kills started a 7-1 finish that gave Miami the set, 25-12.

Like the first two sets, set three started out pretty even. Again a large Miami run in the middle would be the difference. Tied at seven, the RedHawks forced Chicago State into several attack errors, while Michelle Mangia and Madison Hardy each put down kills. It was part of an 11-2 run that gave Miami an 18-9 lead. The Cougars would get as close as seven points at 14-21, but the RedHawks would take the final four points of the match off a service error, a double block by Caylor and Kayleigh Cox and kills from Caylor and Kendall.

Raseman led a balanced Miami attack with nine kills. Lisa Treadway served as the libero in the match and recorded six digs. Lang had four service aces, and now has nine in her last two matches. Kendall led the RedHawks with 27 assists. Miami hit .272 for the match and held Chicago State to a negative hitting percentage at -.030.

Miami concludes play at the Michigan/adidas Invitational on Saturday. The RedHawks will face Youngstown State at 11 a.m., and then take on the host, 22nd-ranked Michigan, at 7:30 p.m.

 Bowling Green 3, Cornell 0
Bowling Green, Ohio - The Bowling Green volleyball team held Cornell to .077 hitting as the Falcons swept the Big Red 25-15, 25-21, 27-25 in the team's home opener, which also served as a first round match in the Best Western Falcon Plaza Invitational.



Paige Penrod had 13 kills and Noelle Spitler added 11 and five blocks as the Falcons dominated at the net. Bowling Green had 29 more kills than Cornell, 50-21, and hit .238 for the match. The Falcons are now 2-0 when hitting at least .200 and 0-5 when failing to reach that threshold.

Cornell never really threatened during the first two sets but looked as if it would pull out the third after building a 24-20 lead. Lindsey Butterfield, Danielle Tonyan and Ashley Dunn recorded consecutive kills, forcing the Big Red to call a timeout. Coming out of the break, Spitler had a kill to tie the score and a Cornell attack error gave the Falcons a 25-24 lead. After a Cornell block tied the score, the Big Red were called for a ball handling error and Butterfield closed out the match with a kill.

Spitler was particularly effective in the third set, recording six of her 11 kills in that pivotal stanza. She hit .455 in the third and had a pair of blocks.

Playing in front of a raucous home crowd for the first time in 2010, Bowling Green came out on fire, winning the first set 25-15. With the score tied at 7-7, the Falcons went on an 11-4 run that put Bowling Green on top early.

In the second set, Cornell jumped out on top 4-1 but the Falcons used a 6-1 stretch to take a lead they would never relinquish. The Big Red did get within one at 18-17 but Cassie Berning and Spitler had back-to-back kills, followed by a block from the pair and another kill from Spitler to make it 22-17 and build all the cushion the team needed.

Along with a huge advantage in kills, Bowling Green held a 59-44 edge in digs behind a career-high 20 from freshman libero Ashley Dunn. Penrod added 13 digs for her second career double-double and freshman Laura Avila had 23 assists and nine digs.

Bowling Green will host four matches in the Best Western Falcon Plaza Invitational Saturday, beginning with BGSU playing IPFW at 11:30 a.m. The Falcons will play Oakland Saturday evening at 7 p.m.

No. 7 Nebraska 3, Western Michigan 0
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Freshman Gillian Asque led Western Michigan with 10 kills, while fellow freshman Lena Oliver contributed 14 digs, but No. 7 Nebraska prevailed, 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-11), in front of a sold-out crowd of 4,111 at the NU Coliseum in the Ameritas Players Challenge.

Junior setter Sam Viox added 28 assists, while sophomore Jessica Brown had seven kills and three blocks.

The Huskers (7-1) held the Broncos (6-3) to .102 hitting with 29 kills, while NU hit .391 with 47 kills. The Broncos tallied four blocks, while the Huskers rejected 11 shots and also had 13 more digs (45-32).

Western Michigan hung close early in set one, 8-7, after a kill by Asque. The Huskers went on a 7-1 run to take control, 15-8, but Western Michigan countered with four points in a row, 15-12. NU scored four more in a row of their own to go up seven, 19-12, and force WMU into a timeout. The Broncos couldn't make a run as Nebraska took the opening set, 25-17.

The Broncos connected on 11 kills in the opening set with three by Asque, Brown and freshman Ali Gossen, but Nebraska hit .324 with 17 kills.

Nebraska built a 9-3 lead to open set two before Western Michigan called timeout. The Broncos scored three in a row on an Asque kill, Viox and Brown block and Doyle ace in the middle of the set, but Nebraska kept the distance to close out the set, 25-17.

WMU had 11 more kills in the second set with five by Asque, but Nebraska hit .355 and collected 15 kills to prevail.

Nebraska scored the first 11 points of the set and didn't look back. The Broncos used a 6-2 run to pull closer, 13-6, after a kill by freshman Emily Harris, but never threatened. Nebraska ended the match with its 47th kill to win, 25-11.

Nebraska took over in the third set with 15 kills and .542 hitting, while WMU had seven kills and seven errors in the third set.

Western Michigan finishes the tournament tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. against No. 20 Dayton (5-3).

 Buffalo 3, Binghamton 0
BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo volleyball team was able to overcome a late second-half deficit sandwiched by two dominant performances as UB defeated Binghamton, 3-0, in the opener of the Blue and White Classic on Friday evening. The Bulls got a total team effort as they improved to 7-2 on the season.



The Bulls hit an impressive .419 in the opening set, staking an early 7-2 lead. Freshman Dana Musil had three kills during the opening run. The Bulls increased their lead to 16-9 in the opening set before Binghamton pulled within four following three straight points. The Bearcats got even closer, getting to within one at 20-19, but Musil served the Bulls to the final four points of the match. The set-clinching point came on monster kill from junior Abby Niekamp.

The second set looked like it would be all Binghamton early on as the Bearcats led by as much as seven, with a 17-10 advantage. UB turned to its veterans to turn things around and they responded. With UB still down by seven at 20-13, UB rattled off three straight points and pulled within 20-16. Following a Binghamton side out, UB crept back with another 3-0 run and trailed by just 21-19. A kill from Binghamton gave it a 22-19 advantage, but the Bulls responded with a 5-0 run and took their first lead of the set. Senior Kayla Govier had three kills in the final six Buffalo points, including the one that sealed the set.

With a 2-0 advantage, the Bulls cruised to victory in the third set, hitting .452 in a final set they won 25-11. UB jumped out to an early 8-1 lead and never looked back taking leads of 15-4, 22-8 and the final margin of 25-11.

"It was nice to get both setters in to the match and I thought they both did a nice job running the offense," said head coach Todd Kress. "Dani got our middles involved early and Lindsey and some of our other veterans were able to come in and right the ship in the second set. I thought Lindsey did a nice job running our offense in the third set, as we hit .452. Overall, I thought it was a great team effort to come out and beat a quality team in Binghamton that went to the NCAAs last season."

Niekamp led the way with 12 kills and just two errors as she hit .556 on the night. Govier added 11 kills and just one error, while Musil and senior Kristin Bignell each had seven kills. Schlegel had two kills and a team-high 21 assists, while Reinert added 17 assists.

Junior Heather Pyle shattered her career high in digs with 24, while freshman Kelly Svoboda added 10.

UB returns to action tomorrow as it completes play at the Blue and White Classic with a pair of matches. Buffalo meets Hampton at 11:00 am and St. John's at 7:00 pm. St. John's defeated Hampton 3-0 in today's other match.

 Northern Illinois 3, Elon 1
Northern Illinois 3, Liberty 0
Elon, N.C. - Playing in back-to-back matches at the Elon Classic did not slow down the finest beginning to a season in program history for the Northern Illinois volleyball team on Friday. The Huskies moved to 10-0, winning a four-set match over Elon (6-3), and just over 1.5 hours later, sweeping Liberty (5-3).



"It was definitely a challenge that we haven't experienced in a while -- playing back to back matches," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. "It was nice to be in a different area of the country, a different environment, playing our style of volleyball."

In addition to keeping the longest winning streak since 2001 alive, the Huskies also continued their trend of racking up more kills, digs, aces, and a better hitting percentage than every opponent. Against Elon, NIU hit .298 with 54 kills, 49 digs, and nine aces, as opposed to a Phoenix line of .203, 45, 42, and four.

"It was a very challenging match," Gooden said. "Elon put us under a lot of pressure with their serving. They did a nice job, and it really challenged us from a confidence standpoint. We were able to regroup, though, and play a good match against a very solid team."

The short rest between competitions may have slowed the Huskies a bit in the Liberty match, but didn't stop them. NIU posted a season-low .137 hitting percentage, 33 kills, and six aces, along with 41 digs. Still, the Huskies managed to hold the Flames down to a .071 hitting percentage, 36 digs, 28 kills, and two aces.

"Liberty did a really good job of forcing us to do different things," said Gooden. "In doing so, we learned how to make plays in different ways than we've been used to throughout the season. We compliment Liberty on their match planning and we compliment on our team's ability to make adjustments."

Freshman outside hitter Lauren Wicinski (Geneva, Ill./Geneva) led the Huskies with 14 kills against the Phoenix, while hitting .393 and totaling two aces and a block assist for 16.5 points. Sophomore middle blocker Mary Kurisch (LaCrosse, Wis./West Salem) posted a team-high four blocks, four aces (career high), and .438 hitting percentage on an errorless 16 swings for seven kills and a total of 13 points. Classmate Meghan Romo (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) also reached double-figures in points with 11.5. The outside hitter registered a .316 hitting percentage with nine kills and a season-best four blocks.

Junior setter Kristin Hoffman (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) missed a double-double by one dig in a well-rounded performance as she notched 40 assists, nine digs, four kills on eight swings (.375, one error), and two blocks.

Senior libero Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill./North) captained the back row with 19 digs, while junior outside hitter Allison McGlaughlin (Morton, Ill./Morton) tallied 10 digs, and added nine kills.

In the 25-21, 23-25, 25-12, 25-18 win, NIU trailed 7-4 in the first set. But a 10-3 run gave the Huskies a four-point advantage that they wouldn't look back from. In the second stanza, NIU held a slim lead until the Phoenix rebounded from a 16-11 deficit to end the set on a 14-7 spurt. After the break, the Huskies took advantage of six Phoenix errors to take a 9-1 lead, leaving Elon unable to recover. In closing out the match, the Huskies nearly led the whole time. The score was only tied one time, and that was at 1-1, as the Huskies kept at least a three-point lead for the rest of the set after going up 7-4 on an ace by Kurisch.

Wicinski also paced the Huskie attack against the Flames, notching 11 kills, eight digs, two aces, and a block assist for 13.5 points. Opposite of what she did in the first match of the day, McGlaughlin missed a double-double by one dig, totaling 10 kills and three aces for 13 points.

Hoffman dished out 22 assists, while Hughes compiled 13 digs for the offense.

With the score tied late in the first set, 19-19, NIU received a kill by McGlaughlin and got help from two attack errors by the Flames, which ended up being the difference in the set, 25-22.

In the second set, the Huskies broke a 15-15 tie with a 10-4 run to end the set, 25-19. The spurt began and ended with a kill by Wicinski.

The final set was won by the Huskies, 25-15, on a 17-7 run that busted an 8-8 knot in the score.

NIU finishes the tournament tomorrow with an 11 a.m. CT contest against Stetson (1-6) to end a six-match road trip.