March 14, 2006
DeKalb, IL - The Northern Illinois University volleyball team is getting ever so close to the top of the hill, but smooth sailing is still a ways away.
Despite putting forth a valiant effort, the Huskies could not find that one play that would put them over as Western Michigan University earned the 30-25, 30-28, 32-30 Mid-American Conference sweep over NIU at Victor E. Court on Thursday night.
WMU senior middle hitter Shaylen Jackson recorded a hitting percentage of .538 (14 kills, 0 errors, 26 attacks) to propel the Broncos to victory. Jackson's teammates Kathryn Babcock (12 kills, 11 digs), Abby Gephart (9 kills) and Jenifer Sulewski (45 assists, eight kills) turned in solid efforts for WMU as well.
"We just weren't able to score that ball we needed to in order for us to get over the hump," Northern Illinois Head Coach Ray Gooden said. "That was it, we had our chances."
"We fought hard tonight and I thought we really had chances to do well," Gooden continued. "It just didn't work out the way we needed it to."
With the victory, Western Michigan improves to 16-8 overall and 9-5 in Mid-American Conference play, while the Huskies drop their third straight match, falling to 12-16 on the campaign and 4-9 in MAC action.
As a team, WMU finished with a hitting percentage of .263 (57 kills, 21 errors, 137 attacks) to NIU's .204 (51 kills, 23 errors, 137 attacks).
NIU junior middle blocker Kate McCullagh (Woodstock) and sophomore outside hitter Amy Ward (Sycamore) each posted a match-high 15 kills to pace the Huskies in defeat.
The Huskies will be back in action on Saturday night, as they host Miami (OH) at 7 p.m. at Victor E. Court in NIU's Convocation Center. Prior to the contest, the Huskies will celebrate "Senior Day", honoring the careers of Megan Sprangers (Elgin/Larkin), Corinne Walsh (Evergreen Park) and Marie Zidek (Orland Park/Marian Catholic).
(For further information, please contact Matt Brendich) - NIU -