March 14, 2006
DeKalb, IL - One quick glance at the scoresheet, and it would appear that the Illinois State University Redbirds held the edge over Northern Illinois University in their non-conference volleyball matchup on Tuesday night.
The Redbirds held statistical edges over NIU in kills, assists, digs and blocks...but you can't measure fight.
NIU staved off two game-point serves, including a rally from 29-24 in the fourth game, to earn the 22-30, 32-30, 31-29, 34-32 win over the Redbirds at Victor E. Court on Tuesday night.
"This was a very tough match, because it's a rivalry match, and in the same sense, both of our teams know that we're fighting hard for our conference success," NIU Head Coach Ray Gooden said. "We need this match, because there's a lot of area kids that play, it's two really good schools and you know its going to be a battle.
"It was good for us to step up and seize a victory."
With the victory, NIU improves to 12-13 overall, while the visiting Redbirds fall to 13-8 on the campaign.
NIU senior middle blocker Corinne Walsh (Evergreen Park) recorded a match-high, 19 kills, followed by 18 kills from fellow middle blocker Kate McCullagh (Woodstock). Huskie setter Jenny Dziubla (Elgin/St. Edward) earned bragging rights over her sister, ISU middle blocker Kristin Dziubla (14 kills), as the freshman notched 49 assists along with seven digs, five kills and three block assists.
The Huskies found themselves behind the eight-ball in game three, facing game point at 29-28, following a Jenny Dziubla ball handling error. NIU, however, squashed that lead and earned the 31-29 win behind kills from Amy Ward (Sycamore), McCullagh and block assists from McCullagh and Walsh.
Walsh proved to be the catalyst for NIU in the final game, as the Evergreen Park, IL native collected 10 of her 19 kills in the match-clincher to help the Huskies rally from a 29-24 deficit for the 34-32 win.
"Corinne knows she's capable, we all know she's capable," Gooden said. "We just have to put her in the right spot so she can do that, and when she does, she's going to be successful."
ISU's Savannah Knowles topped the Redbirds with a double-double of 19 kills and 15 digs, followed by 11 kills from Manoela DaCunha. Redbird setter Erin Lindsey added a double-double of 64 assists and 13 digs.
Northern Illinois will be back in action on Friday evening, traveling to Indiana to square off with Ball State for a Mid-American Conference showdown beginning at 6 p.m. (CST).
(For further information, please contact Matt Brendich) - NIU -