March 14, 2006
Macomb, IL - Kate McCullagh (14) and Corinne Walsh (11) combined for 25 kills and junior libero Gina Guide chipped in with 18 digs, but it wasn't enough to lift the Northern Illinois University volleyball team past Western Illinois University, Tuesday evening in a three-game defeat in Macomb, IL.
With the 3-0 (32-30, 30-28, 30-25) falter, Northern Illinois fell to 4-3 on the season, while the host Westerwinds improved to 1-3.
Northern Illinois actually built a large lead in the opening stanza before succumbing by that 32-30 final. Leading 11-10, the Huskies rattled off eight consecutive points thanks to the defensive efforts of Walsh. Walsh dominated the nets, recording three solo blocks, while teammate McCullagh added a kill to help the Huskies build a 19-10 lead. Northern Illinois' lead remained healthy for a majority of the match, but eight consecutive WIU points turned a 27-21 NIU lead into a 29-27 Huskie deficit. Northern Illinois did fight back to tie the match at 29-29 on back-to-back kills by McCullagh and Walsh, but two final errors by the Huskies sealed the defeat.
Freshman setter Jenny Dziubla helped the Huskies race to a quick start in game two, serving six consecutive points, aided by three straight aces. Down 4-0 early, sophomore Amy Ward got the Huskies on the scoreboard with a kill, before Dziubla's serving prowess pushed NIU in front 7-4. Western Illinois regrouped to tie the game at 10-10 and the two clubs traded points before an 8-2 WIU rally put the hosts in control for good. Despite trailing by as many as seven on two occasions (27-20 and 28-21), head coach Ray Gooden's squad hung tough and eventually pulled within 29-28, before Western Illinois sealed the victory.
Western Illinois clinched its first win of 2005 with another mid-game surge in game three. With the score tied at 11-11, the Westerwinds reeled off five consecutive points to build a 16-11 lead. Northern Illinois rallied with a 6-1 run of its own to tie the contest at 17-17, but a closing 7-2 run by the hosts ultimately doomed NIU.
Northern Illinois returns to action on Friday (Sept. 9) at the Bradley Invitational in Peoria, IL. The Huskies are scheduled to face Oakland University at 9 a.m. on Friday morning, before taking on Belmont at 4:30 p.m.